At first he thought he was having a nightmare, that he was dreaming his apartment had been hit by bombs, like so many others in his city and that he would wake up and everything would be fine. But Tareq was living the nightmare. His apartment had been bombed, and his younger sister and brothers all killed, along with his mother and his grandmother. Only one sister and his father escape alive. Now they have to make a decision. Get out of the country they have loved, or face more death, even though there are no guarantees of safety if they do leave.
Tareq’s father decides they must leave Syria and journey to Turkey as the first step in fleeing their war torn country. However, they need money for this and they travel to a part of Syria that is controlled by Daesh fighters and there Tareq witnesses things he never thought to see in real life. And they haven’t even left the country yet.
A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi is a hard and compelling look at the realities facing many people in the world today. What do you do when the country you love is fighting against itself and taking down the citizens? Where is safe in a world where many are scared of the refugees seeking asylum? This story is told by Destiny, and he/she looks at the world and knows the lives and struggles of the people and wonders how we humans can do such awful things to each other. This is a powerful book, and the story of Tareq and those he meets on his journey will leave the reader with a broader understanding and hopefully empathy for the plight of others in this world.
A strongly recommended read, but for students in 8th grade and older for the complexity of understanding Destiny is telling the story, as well as the nuances of the politics involved in this situation as well as some of the graphic violence.