- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
New Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
A Tender Struggle: Story of a Marriageby Krista Bremer
Synopses & Reviews
“Utterly absorbing . . . A beautiful book.” —Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild
“A story about love, marriage, compromise, parenthood and the difference between the life one imagined and reality.”*
Fifteen years ago, Krista Bremer, a California-bred feminist, surfer, and aspiring journalist, met Ismail Suayah, sincere, passionate, kind, yet from a very different world. One of eight siblings born in an impoverished fishing village in Libya, Ismail was raised a Muslim--and his faith informed his life. When Krista and Ismail made the decision to become a family, she embarked on a journey she never could have imagined, an accidental jihad: a quest for spiritual and intellectual growth that would open her mind and, more important, her heart.
“A bold piece of writing (and thinking) by an incredibly brave woman.” —Elizabeth Gilbert, author of The Signature of All Things
“A moving, lyrical memoir.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Candid and rich.” —Good Housekeeping
“Unrelenting candor and gorgeous prose.” —BookPage
“Krista Bremer has a very good story.” —The New York Times Book Review
“A beautiful account of [Krista’s] jihad, or struggle, to find peace within herself and within her marriage.” —The Kansas City Star
“Lucid, heartfelt, and profoundly humane . . . Navigates the boundaries of religion and politics to arrive at the universal experience of love.” —G. Willow Wilson, author of Alif the Unseen
“This is a memoir worth reading.” —*Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A woman's unexpected struggle to open her heart and grow beyond herself. This is Krista Bremer's accidental jihad.
Fifteen years ago, she was a surfer from a secular middle-class family who dreamed of a comfortable American life of adventure, romance, and opportunity. Then, on a running trail in North Carolina, she met Ismail. Kind, sincere, and passionate, Ismail came from another world: one of eight children, he'd been raised in an impoverished fishing village in Libya. When Krista later realized she was carrying his child--and she and Ismail made the decision to become a family--she embarked on a journey she never could have imagined.
Arriving in Libya to meet her relatives, Krista is engulfed by a tribe of extended family for whom faith informs every act, big or small. She discovers both overwhelming hospitality and unimaginable oppression as she spends her days within a circle of Muslim women who challenge her notions of femininity, freedom, and what it means to be family.
In this unlikely love story, we see a marriage of opposites, watching Krista and Ismail negotiate unforeseen differences at every turn: when their daughter decides to don a head scarf; during Ismail's monthlong fast of Ramadan; as Krista attempts to explain Christmas trees and Valentine's Day gifts. In any marriage, we might discover that our mate is foreign to us, with vastly different memories and assumptions about home,family, and the world. Krista learns to embrace the differences, both intellectually and emotionally, and on the way finds the meaning of true intimacy.
Fascinating, profoundly moving, and enlightening, My Accidental Jihad explores what it means to open one's mind to another culture--and just as important, to open one's heart.
About the Author
Krista Bremer is the associate publisher of The Sun magazine and the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation award. Her essay on which this book is based, “My Accidental Jihad,” received a Pushcart Prize. Her essays have been published in O: The Oprah Magazine, More magazine, and The Sun, and she’s been featured on NPR and in the PBS series Arab American Stories.
What Our Readers Are Saying