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Storm Over Morocco : Finding God in the…

Storm Over Morocco : Finding God in the Midst of Fanatics

by Frank Romano

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Although this book is the story of Romano’s disastrous trip to Morocco, I felt he could have quite easily have been written about his messed up childhood, since, and I don’t mean to get into too much pop psychology, he clearly had one. Romano’s entire trip seemed to be characterized by dramatic swings between desperately needing love and affection and being completely distrustful and paranoid about everyone he encountered. I became repeatedly distracted from the story he was actually telling to wonder about the story he wasn’t telling about how he came to be both so needy and so distrustful.

Although I did eventually get caught up in the story, it was hard for me to truly enjoy it. I was too busy yelling at the book, “No! Don’t do THAT! That’s a terrible idea! Listen to your friends!” etc. I don’t do well with people who do really dumb things, which Romano did in spades in his trip. However, I did like the book for its semi-insider’s view of Moroccan culture in the 1970s. If you’re the kind of person who can watch people do stupid things in books or in movies without yelling at them, then this book could be very interesting.

For the full review:
http://devourerofbooks.wordpress.com/2008/05/28/storm-over-morocco-book-review/ ( )
1 vote DevourerOfBooks | May 28, 2008 |
A poorly planned (unplanned?) search for "universal religion" leads the author into a cult-like conservative religious community in Morocco. But if you saw the words "fanatics" and "fundamentalism" and are expecting references to Osama bin Laden, Iran, or burning American flags, be aware: you will not find them here.

This is a travel narrative. But what's most disturbing to me about Romano's trip is that this guy apparently had no clue what he might be getting into, and didn't bother doing ANY homework about the country or culture to find out before leaving. He just wanders off to North Africa, expecting mystical desert experiences, I guess. His narrative comes off as 'new age'-y and self-absorbed. An unprepared solo traveler, Romano misunderstands basic aspects of Muslim religion and Moroccan culture (such as sacrificing a lamb to roast for the feast of Eid al-Kabir) and feels increasingly alienated as a result. Out of his comfort zone and vulnerable, he gets mixed up in a super-conservative religious crowd whose members believe that he wants to convert. Finally, having managed to get himself into pretty hot water with them (quite an accomplishment in the desert) he drifts in and out of paranoia as he attempts to 'get out' and back to France.

The subtitle of this book is "Finding God in the Midst of Fanatics." It should have been "How NOT to Travel." It's worth reading for that reason only. Do the exact opposite of what Romano did, and you should have a great time. ( )
1 vote Fullmoonblue | Apr 8, 2008 |
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