Posted by Book Mavens on January 27th, 2011
Title: The Woman Who Fell from the Sky: An American Journalist in Yemen
Author: Steil, Jennifer.
Publisher: Broadway May, 2010
Summary: Journalist Jennfier Steil, at the age of 37, unattached and unsatisfied with her work in New York, flew off to Yemen to teach journalism at the Yemen Observer, an English language newspaper in Sanaa. The three week position transitioned into a one year stay as she assumed the position of editor, but not the title as it is illegal for foreigners to run a Yemeni newspaper.
Steil finds herself teaching the importance of accuracy and objectivity in reporting, almost unknown to most of the men who are often busy chewing khat, a legal substance in Yemen, and to the few young women hidden beneath burkas. Although the staff is receptive to her teaching, there is a clash of cultures as she tries to instill in the men the importance of turning in assignments on time, and must make exceptions for the women who need to be home before dark. She eventually forms very close friendships with some of the female employees, and even chews khat with the men and their families.
Needless to say, this is one very adventuresome woman! Accustomed to hanging out at bars and flirting with strangers in New York, she needs to adjust to life in a poor Islamic society. And adjust she does – learning enough Arabic to get around the beautiful city of Sanaa on her own, sleeping on the floor at times, tasting new foods, avoiding the gaze of men on the narrow city streets, and risking danger travelling in the countryside. This is a book for those who love reading about other cultures.
Recommended by : Paula, Reference Librarian
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