“For many of us in the disconnected 21st century, it is time to speak about our heritage. This memoir creates a whole world bridging memory and narrative. It has a sense of longevity, no so much in the number of years, but with the depth and range of felt experiences. The writer is an artist who brings to the page an astute eye for the meaning of belonging and identity as she shifts between her many selves. There’s a real sense of looking at people in the Middle Eastern world through the lens of her mixed ethnicity—Egyptian, British, Armenian. The sense of tension with her characters, particularly her roguish, bon-vivant father, who gambled away the family fortune, and her strong-willed, fashionable but secretive mother ever vigilant about neighbors gossiping as they lived in gentile poverty. Nevertheless, she maintained a sense of normalcy while railing in her “headstrong” daughter.
“The memoir finds humor in dark places like a childhood spent in trauma, cowering from overhead bombing raids during WWII, telling how entire families were able to find resilience to survive constant danger. Following WWII, Peggy’s fascination with American GIs stationed in Cairo sets her off on a life path. When the Suez Canal political upheaval after “Black Saturday” happens, it catapults her to leave Egypt.
“The author’s coming of age story is composed of her education in a Catholic Girls’ School, her sexual awakening, her first love, and her childhood daydreams of becoming a film star or a fashion designer that sets her on a journey through several countries: Canada, Switzerland and the U.S.A. The narrative plays on the reader’s question of ‘what’s next?’ as the writer weaves her family story with compassion, finding inspiration in the ‘showing’ of ordinary people living their lives against an exotic and, often, foreign backdrop.”
“Frances Roberts Reilly--poet, playwright and memoirist”.