Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Kids, Camels and Cairo by @jilldobbe #Travel #Memoir

Today’s team review is from Brittany , she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Brittany has been reading Kids, Camels and Cairo by Jill Dobbe 


My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Kids, Camels & Cairo by Jill Dobbe is a lighthearted memoir about an American family’s experience living and working in Cairo, Egypt for two years. A husband and a wife who were living comfortably in Wisconsin accepted teaching positions together in the same international school in Cairo.  It was their oldest child’s first year in college.  He remained in the States while his parents and younger sister moved to Cairo.

The memoir provides fascinating insights about Egyptian culture.  The memoir especially excels in providing the perspective of an American woman trying to adjust to social limitations a woman faces living in Egypt, and her experiences were often notably and interestingly different from her husband’s. Other insights include Egyptian attitudes on education, cuisine, immigration, and extreme poverty and extreme wealth living together in one country. I appreciate the author openly sharing her observations.

The writing style of the memoir is casual, and portions of the book read like an email from a friend.   It took a while for me to adjust to the casual style, I appreciated Dobbe’s down-to-earth and straightforward writing.  For the most part the book is organization chronologically, though the writing is a somewhat stream of consciousness, expounding on events out of order if they tie into something that reminded the author of it.  The memoir may have benefited from being organized by different themes or types of insights.  For example, taking her daughter to Cairo, poverty in Egypt, learning to live in a Muslim county, adjusting as a woman in Cairo, etc.

The year the Dobbe’s moved to Cairo was their daughter’s last year of high school.  This was hard for me to read about, because it did not entirely seem in the daughter’s best interest to be uprooted from her educational and social support in Wisconsin. And it is unclear why the Dobbe’s could not simply wait one more year to work abroad after their daughter completed high school. It was mentioned that at times the daughter would cry in her room in Cairo and did not wish to attend her own graduation in Cairo because she never developed a fondness for the school or her classmates. I must admit this left a sourness for me that hung throughout the book.

The Dobbe’s had several opportunities to travel throughout the region, including the great pyramids and the Red Sea.  It was a delight to see some photography from their travels.  Kids, Camels and Cairo is recommended to anyone interested in traveling to Egypt and an absolute must read for anyone looking to travel to Egypt to teach.

I reviewed this book as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team.

Book Description

Each morning my eyes popped open the second I heard the call to prayer resound through the air. At 7:00 A.M., I walked out onto a rare quiet Cairo street and waited for the school van to pick me up. Climbing onto the van, I found a seat alongside the foreign and Muslim teachers, where I was only one of a few women not wearing hijab. It was Sunday morning, the start of another Islamic week of trying to discipline rich and apathetic students.

Traveling across the globe to work in an international school in Cairo, Egypt, was not exactly the glamorous lifestyle I thought it would be. I cherished my travels to the Red Sea, delighted in visiting the Pyramids, and appreciated the natural wonders of the Nile River. However, I also spent days without electricity or internet, was leered at by rude Egyptian men, breathed in Cairo’s cancerous black smog, and coaxed school work from students.

KIDS, CAMELS, & CAIRO is a lighthearted read about Jill Dobbe’s personal experiences as an educator abroad. Whether you’re an educator, a traveler, or just a curious reader, you will be astounded at this honest and riveting account of learning to live in an Islamic society, while confronting the frustrating challenges of being an educator in a Muslim school.

About the author

Jill Dobbe

Jill is an international educator and published author who writes about her experiences living and working in schools and countries around the world. She presently lives in her seventh country, Honduras, with her husband, Dan, and her Yorkie-Poo, Mickey. While working as an elementary principal, Jill also writes, reads, takes photos of the beautiful people and countries of Latin America, and muddles her way through the Spanish language. Jill loves her life as an international educator, and most days, feels like she is living her dream.

HERE WE ARE & THERE WE GO is Jill’s memoir/travelogue written about her family’s first ten years overseas and the humorous, crazy, and sometimes scary adventures they found themselves in.

KIDS, CAMELS & CAIRO is a book about Jill’s two years living and working in a Muslim school in Cairo, Egypt, where she lived and worked alongside Egyptians who taught her about their Islamic faith and reminded her when she was making another cultural faux pas.

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