Sometimes it Snows in America
by Marisa Labozzetta
Guernica Editions

"'You will like it,' he said. 'I promise.' The notion that she might like America was inconceivable."

Young Fatma was born into turbulence and seemingly inherited it from the world. Given by her mother to her infertile sister to be raised, she feels from an early age to be an outsider torn between two worlds. Though she is technically a Somali princess, the political unrest of the region leaves her with none of the benefits. Before she is a teenager, she is married off to a young American Peace Corps member as part of a wartime promise. As her life progresses, she feels further torn apart from her family, her native land, and eventually her senses of identity and purpose. In time, Fatma becomes not only a victim of circumstance but also her own choices, and must find a way to bounce back from rock bottom and take control of her life for the first time.

While the basic premise of a displaced princess looking for somewhere she belongs may seem like standard fairy tale fare, the content of this book is anything but. The events and the drama are visceral and constant, and because readers are along with Fatma from her birth to her arranged marriage and travels to a foreign land, it is easy to understand her struggles and relate to her at all times. Conversely, as Fatma's identity continues to be swallowed piece by piece by the people she trusts and loves, the audience feels the very real disassociation they would feel if a family member or childhood friend fell in with the wrong crowd. At its heart, this is a classic story of loss, redemption, and empowerment, and it leaves the reader feeling something profound by the final page.

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