“The Elephant Tooth of ’95: An Enchanting Story of Family, Romance and New Beginnings” by Rana Baydoun

The Elephant Tooth of ’95: An Enchanting Story of Family, Romance and New Beginnings

Rana Baydoun 
Independently Published (2020)
ISBN: 978-9948256410
Reviewed by Kristine Fielding for Reader Views (07/2022)

“The Elephant Tooth of ’95: An Enchanting Story of Family, Romance and New Beginnings” is a fictionalized compilation of lovely stories of the author’s experiences growing up in Beirut. The book sheds light on the sights, sounds, food and daily life in post-war Beirut, Lebanon through the eyes of the main character, Noor Beyrouti. The author peeks into Noor’s world through funny and nostalgic glimpses of her daily life. Readers are introduced to Noor’s culture, jobs, friends and loves through her voice. The author’s writing style is unique—each chapter is a song title.  

I did not want to stop reading and learning more about the ways of Lebanon; its food and traditions, and most interestingly, the way women are viewed and treated by men. The author does a good job of keeping each of Noor’s stories moving along, and I truly enjoyed the introduction to a culture with which I was unfamiliar. 

Noor’s stories revolve around her school years, the funny situations she finds herself in, and the family and friends who are at her side. Noor’s protective father, eccentric mother and anemic sister are the best kind of cheering section. Her car breaks down constantly. Her lab experiments don’t go quite as planned. Her first “real” job interview at DanielCo seems to be a huge failure – but Noor marches on. You’ll come to care about Noor. You can visualize her daily life and the people around her. You’ll cheer for her and want her to succeed. You’ll want her to fall in love with a great guy and be swept off her feet. Will her “dream job” meet her expectations? Does she find love after all? Would the next chapter make me laugh, or tear up?

The book is well written and the author balances humour and hardships. The descriptions are vivid and animated. It was fun to read and kept me engaged. Rana Beydoun has done a wonderful job of highlighting routine events in a way that holds your interest, and each chapter made me want to continue; anticipating the next lesson to be learned, and milestone to be achieved. Beydoun’s writing is straightforward, and interspersed with emotion, fun and creative descriptions, as well as heart wrenching anecdotes. Once I finished the book, I wanted to know more about this author and what comes next from her! 

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