A few years ago a story made the rounds in the media: a refugee helped save two very small children (barely toddlers) who were fleeing with their families out of the violence of Syria. By some miracle Doaa Al Zamel stays afloat and manages to get herself and the babies to rescue. This is the story of her early life and fleeing the terror to a new life. The book is written by Melissa Fleming, the chief spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees who initially told Doaa's story at a TED talk.
We learn about Doaa's early life and family. As a young child Doaa had a relatively peaceful upbringing but things soon changed in Syria and the situation gradually becomes untenable. After fleeing with her family for Egypt, Doaa finds she must leave again with her fiance, Bassem. Together they embark on a harrowing journey to Europe.
It's a fascinating story and should really bring home the horrors refugees are fleeing, but I am amazed at the high reviews this book received. It is not well-written at all. I thought Fleming was a ghostwriter (I didn't know of her position with the UN until I read the flap) helping Doaa tell her story. But the writing is at best pedestrian and could have used a lot more tightening up. This is another example of a TED talk/magazine article (I believe Doaa wrote at least one piece about her experiences) that should have never been made into a book or at least should have had a much better editor/ghostwriter to help.
It's a horrifying tale that has far too many similar stories told by far too many people. But I'd recommend most readers skip this and either watch the TED talk (I haven't watched it though) or seek out Doaa's writings instead.