Book review: What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife? by David Harris-Gershon

A harrowing experience at the 2002 Hebrew University bombing becomes a potent lesson for personal growth in this journalistic memoir.

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Jay Muhlin

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5


By David Harris-Gershon. Oneworld Publications, $18.

After his wife was wounded in Jerusalem’s 2002 Hebrew University bombing, David Harris-Gershon’s life became one of recovery and reconciliation. In this memoir, the then–graduate student and current Daily Kos blogger recounts his experiences in “victimhood” and his desire to meet the bomber who left so many physical and emotional scars.

The memoir operates as both an account of Middle Eastern politics and an intimate look into the recovery of both husband and wife. Harris-Gershon employs a journalistic approach to the history of Israel and Hamas, and a confessional one to the discussion of his post-traumatic stress after the instability brought about by the bombing. As the author tries to connect with the perpetrator, these approaches combine to demonstrate his sympathy for the bomber’s family and the resultant roadblocks he experienced while attempting to make contact.

Though it takes place far from the divided city of Jerusalem, the book reveals itself to be as much about the city as about the author’s life. Even with the benefit of hindsight, Harris-Gershon never assumes to have all the answers. His honesty and humility give the memoir historical context, and ultimately elevate his story from the individual to the universal.

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