I have currently been reading the book, Zeitoun, written by Dave Eggers. Zeitoun is a book about an ethnically mixed Muslim family living in New Orleans during hurricane Katrina. The book specifically recounts the lifestyle of the Zeitoun family that includes Abdulrahman, Kathy and their four children. The book takes a wonderful and heartfelt journey into this family’s everyday routine, and then the incredible stories and experiences that both Kathy and Zeitoun had to go through during hurricane Katrina.
Abdulrahman, Kathy, and their kids do not make up an odd family. In today’s society you see many mixed families. I myself am familiar with this, for my family is a mixed family. My mother is Caucasian and my biological father is African American. The man that I really consider to be my dad, and whom I live with is Caucasian. I have a total of two half sisters, two half brothers and two step brothers, and I’m the darkest looking one. My extended family ranges from German, Korean, Hispanic, Irish, Native American, the list goes on. You could say that my family has a person with some kind of ancestry from each continent of the world, so the Zeitoun’s mixed family is not at all strange in my eyes.
The relationship between Abdulrahman and Kathy seems very stable. They are both very different, but their differences help support one another. Kathy seems to be more outspoken, and likes to say what’s on her mind. Abdulrahman likes to keep things to himself and observe and analyze before letting something leave his mouth. There are moments of disagreement. For example, when it comes to taking a vacation Abdulrahman, or Zeitoun does not like to leave and vacation. He likes to stay with work, and does not like the feeling of lounging about and doing nothing. On the other hand, Kathy does like taking vacations. Now, Kathy is a very hard worker, and likes to stay on top of things as well, but 365 days of always working and staying on top of things is exhausting for anyone. Therefore, Kathy’s way of remedying the situation is taking a mini vacation with the children with or without Zeitoun. What’s interesting about this situation is that neither person questions the other’s resolve or final decision on any situation. Yes, there may be questions of concern, or statements of doubt, but if the partner feels it is right for them and the family than the other will not question. This is strength for Zeitoun and Kathy, for it allows them more breathing room, and the decisions that they make are usually correct. For example, when Katrina was about to hit land Kathy wanted to take the kids and leave for Baton Rouge to stay out of harms way. Zeitoun wanted to stay with the house, and where his work was. In the end, the decision both made turned out to be good ones. Katrina ended up being a Category 5 hurricane, breaking the levees and devastating New Orleans, and Kathy’s decision to evacuate was smart, for now Zeitoun did not have to worry about his four children. The fact that Zeitoun stayed was smart, for he was able to take all of the valuables in the house and put them in safe places safe from the flood, and for more obvious reasons for helping the animals and people affected by the storm.
The fact that both Kathy and Zeitoun are devout Muslims really did make a difference in handling bad situations. When Kathy had to go to Baton Rouge you can really sense the stress level at her brother’s house that had two other sisters and lots of children, and on top of crowdedness you had the tension of Kathy’s sisters’ and mother’s tension towards her Muslim faith. This kind of stress level would drive anyone up the wall, but Kathy handles herself very well, for she feels a kind of peace and serenity with the help of her religion. Zeitoun has a very similar outlook on life as Kathy, for when he decided to stay behind in the storm and began helping and rescuing people he said that God had him stay back for a reason, to help people.