As is somewhat typical, I had no idea what I was in for when I picked up this book. I read what is recommended and I don't like to look at jacket covers or summaries or any reviews prior to reading it (I also hate movie trailers...I just want to see something unfold rather than have expectations or other people's biases from the start). Anyway, I did not know this was nonfiction until I read the first page.
It was compelling, well-written and very interesting. I was pleasantly surprised at the topic (Syrian born do-gooder in NO before, during, and after Katrina) and figured it was just a happy story about a nice guy. And then he gets arrested and profiled and send to a pseudo-concentration camp and then maximum security prison. Holy crap, this book got exciting. If it was a work of fiction I'd be screaming all over the place about the conveniences and the ridiculousness of the story, but (as has been said before) truth is often stranger than fiction and I'm gonna assume that Eggers is not lying to us here (although I have come across the Tucker Maxes, Chelsea Handlers, and Jim Freys of the world) and that most of it is factual. Very interesting, heartbreakingly good read.
And then, after finishing it and talking to my husband about it; he googled Zeitoun and found an August 2012 NO newspaper article about the dark turn that Zeitoun's life has taken. Apparently he is back in jail for domestic assault. Yep, the man who is portrayed as the near perfect husband father (only lacking in perfection in the book because he is too driven to help others to take the selfish way out and leave with his family), is now a wife beater.
Hmmm...what was that I said about truth and fiction?