This year the One Book One Lincoln board had decided to have only three books as finalists instead of the usual five. I took that as a welcome sign that I might just be able to read all finalists before the chosen date and the events/book clubs start. I had been interested in the book Zeitoun (Zay-toon) by Dave Eggers before I noticed its city-wide status, but hadn't gotten around to making it a priority. The picture on the front was how my interest was piqued because it is such a strange picture, you have to take a double-look. I'm so glad I read this amazing true story.
The tale is about a family, specifically a man named Abdulraham Zeitoun, who lives in New Orleans. The first 50 pages or so is background about him, his family, how he met his wife, and his childhood in Syria on the edge of the water.
After that, the story follows Hurricane Katrina as it ripped wide open the populated city, and the fact that Zeitoun stayed, trying to help fellow neighbors, or anyone, with getting them to safety in his aluminum canoe. He was able to stay in the second floor of his own house, caring and paddling people and animals to safety for about a week. That's when he was arrested and thrown into a make-shift prison, treated inhumanely for about a month, eventually to reunite with his frantic wife and family. This story is incredibly fact-checked, and just one look at the bibliography it must have taken a couple of years to even write it. Now Eggers (author) has united with the Zeitoun family to create Zeitoun Foundation--an organization that gives out grants to make New Orleans a better place.
Really a fascinating read, down to the bare bones of the story, I give it 4 out of 5 stars for accessibility as a nonfiction read, and a gripping story. Read this book!