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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. Verified Purchase. I have just finished it. It was a wonderful expereince for me, I felt as if I were living in Tangier in 's. I picked ladies' pockets together with Mohamed Choukri, the central character. On a cold night I slept in the street, with a cat on me.
I slept with prostitutes and drank wine with them. I smuggled watches from the foreign ship and was pursued by the Customs officials. I joined in the demonstration against French colonialism and was attacked by the police. Now I am inclined to learn Arabic, like Mohamed, who bought a primer of Arabic and began to learn the language. His family was so poor that he did not have any chance to learn how to read and write it, until he was twenty years old.
I have jut spent a couple of days in the Moroccan dream world. The value of this book is that it was written as a first-hand account of a man who grew up partially on the street, desperately poor, and illiterate until his 20s. If this book is authentic, that it exists at all is amazing, that it was published and translated and I was able to read it simply miraculous. So I appreciate the book and I do not regret reading it. That said, like any of our lives, it is not a story per se and has no ending or twists, it is an account that can not be wrapped up neatly.
But the main problem with the book is much of his life, or at least his account of it, is spent drunk or high, in sexual fantasy, masterbating, or with prostitutes. There is little indication that he experiences or is capable of love although he is capable of murderous hatred. There is not much questioning, self-awareness or a desire for change.
He does not describe his journey to literacy or his motivation past learning the alphabet in jail, he does not discuss any dreams or even his purpose in writing the book. Although I found myself sympathetic to him and cheering him on, I also guess he is a sociopath and would not care to meet him in a dark alley, especially because I am a woman. Read with the right expectations, this book could be a worthwhile read.
Hard life, harsh descriptions, real, raw and disturbing. Choukri lays bare what most only imagine, or glimpse into the lives of those economically, educationally and socially truly impoverished.
I thought I knew Morocco, but now am reminded of just how much more I have to learn. This is not a comfortable read and the English translation leaves some transitions difficult to traverse. This is crude and honest. When picking this book, you must put on a pause all your ethical thinking on what is sexist, racist, and morally unacceptable.
This is not a book to enjoy. Reading of this book is painful, but in the end, I saw it as a manifest against war and against violence. How a child, who received nothing but hate when growing up, could digest his pain into words, and could overcome it in a way. I liked this book. That surprised me. This speaks directly to strength in narration and artistry of Mr. Choukri, who shows us, in this first volume of his autobiography, the despair brought about by ignorance and poverty.
Our young man's apparent lack of hope for a better future is made clear from the start. In his teens, born in Marocco, during the French domination, he struggles to find the rules and reasons for the world around him. I say apparent lack of hope, because after the first few paragraphs we already know that he is sensitive, smart and will attempt to survive as best he can, without any help from his family or society. In this respect, I was satisfied early on, for I sensed it would be all right to attach my emotions to this hero; that he would not betray my confidence.
Choukri's narration is also masterful in the depiction of the most despicable acts of violence both physical and moral. He is detached. So we can also keep our safe distance. I confess to having a special reason for reading this book. And this book takes place in many of the cities and towns that are familiar to me. What surprises is to see that even though there was a good thirty years difference between the time this story took place and the s, there were vestiges that for some, things still remained.
I can only hope that there has been considerable improvement in the past 20 years. This is a book that makes us think. And even though the subject: a disenfranchised youth in the life of petty crimes in the fringe of society is not unusual in the literature of developing countries, it is important to return to these themes once in a while, getting out of our comforatble, well educated bubbles, and rethink our own contributions to world around us.
I am a better person for having read this book. That's a sign of excellence. Go to Amazon. Back to top. Get to Know Us. Shopbop Designer Fashion Brands. Alexa Actionable Analytics for the Web. DPReview Digital Photography.
By Mohamed Choukri. Surrounded by the other boys of the neighbourhood, I stand crying. My uncle is dead. Some of them are crying, too. I know that this is not the same kind of crying as when I hurt myself or when a plaything is snatched away.
For Bread Alone: An Autobiography
For Bread Alone