Sarah Glidden is the perfect travel companion for a trip to Israel, or anywhere else for that matter. She is friendly, curious, articulate, and a terrific artist to boot. In panel after panel of captivating illustrations, readers accompany Glidden on her first trip to Israel, with a Birthright group. She is prepared to hate Israel and the Israelis for their part in the Palestinian issue, and she’s ready to label everything she hears and sees as “Birthright propaganda.” Many times over, she is forced to reconsider her preconceived ideas, and she is surprised by what she sees and the people she meets. Israel tugs at her heart, and when she feels an unexpected connection to the land and the people, her emotions are palpable to readers.
Travel memoirs can be formulaic: the author goes on a trip, has new experiences, feels unexpected emotions, and then arrives home a changed person. Glidden shakes things up, and delivers a travelogue that is anything but standard. In a unique and entertaining twist, Glidden depicts herself playing judge, jury, lawyer, defendant, and bailiff in the trial “Birthright is trying to brainwash me vs. Birthright is actually pretty reasonable.” This mock trial of her conscience offers a fascinating way for readers to visually peer into the author’s thought process. Glidden also plays with time, bringing famous people from history into the present to carry on conversations with her. For example, she walks the Negev desert with David Ben-Gurion, and she visits with kibbutz pioneers who are depicted in a painting. Along the way her real companions, such as her friend Melissa and their Israeli tour guide Gil, provide Glidden with steadfast emotional support as she makes her life-changing journey. Going to Israel? Pack this compelling and inspiring memoir along with your guidebooks and sunscreen. You won’t regret Sarah Glidden’s company on your trip.