3 out of 4 stars
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The book Keys to Tetouan by Mois Benarroch is quite an interesting book and the first of its type that I have ever read. The book is in an unusual format, but I found that this format left you asking more questions and wanting to keep reading until you found the answers. The characters in the book are each described very well, so it feels like you personally know them. As for the writing, I was impressed by the writing in several parts because it was almost poetic. Overall, I give the book 3 out of 4 stars.
The book focuses on the story of the Benzimra family: a Jewish family that has been around for several generations. The family has an incredible number of relatives, most of which are described or describe themselves, and they each have their own story. The family is spread out around the world and has been for centuries; some living in South America and others in Europe. The book is told as if it were a compilation of stories all revolving around one main idea: their Jewish roots, their home (Tetouan), and finding their family history. Even though the author is Mois Benarroch, it feels like there are countless authors because many of the characters share pieces of their life story and personal experiences. Each character has their own way of expressing themselves and their opinions that makes them stand out among the rest, a trait not found in many books.
I rated this book 3 out of 4 stars because it was good, but it wasn’t amazing. I will admit that it was beautifully written and that you can feel the writer’s emotions through their words, which is probably what I liked the most about it. Whenever each character speaks, it feels like they are talking directly to you. I also really liked how vividly each moment is described. I liked the way that the author connected the characters and how each character’s part of the story contributed to the big picture.
As I mentioned above, it wasn’t amazing. There were a few grammatical errors here and there. Also, I felt like the plot was lacking a little more excitement or suspense. There were very few plot twists and that is what I personally love to find in a book. The story itself flowed very nicely, but it didn’t have the element of surprise. I didn’t find the book exciting, but rather educational. The author includes many historical events and explains the religious situation at the time, so some parts reminded me of reading a history textbook instead of a story.
Since the book gives a lot of importance to the Jewish religion and their customs, as well as their history, I would recommend it to readers that have an interest in that sort of thing. By that I mean readers that enjoy historical books or are interested in the Jewish religion. I think that even people that don’t care for these things can enjoy the book as well, because those things don’t appeal to me, yet I liked it. Nevertheless, I would recommend it to anyone that likes to read about history or wants to know more about Judaism.
Keys to Tetouan
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