The Middle of Everywhere: A Novel


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Their rituals, beliefs, troubled grasp of the world are all vivid and convincing … this is one of the most original and promising of recent debuts. Acknowledgments Cast of Characters 1. Getting to True 4. Kenny Goes to School 5. The Middle of Nowhere 6. Kenny Takes His Shot 7.

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Overview: The Middle of Everywhere

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All cultures have wisdom to offer their own members and the rest of us. By sharing stories of families and individuals from Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq, Vietnam, and many others, Mary Pipher, an anthropologist, psychologist, and bestselling author, offers insight into the challenges and hardships faced by survivors who land in the middle of nowhere.


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The Middle of Everywhere includes a foreword and preface to provide context to the book as a whole. The book is divided into three major sections and has a series of useful appendices. In these stories of refugees, Pipher reveals the evolving demographics of Lincoln and how quickly this middle-American city, once a land of diversity of European descent, is becoming home to those fleeing the fires in other lands.

The Middle of Everywhere

Driving a car for instance, is something that many refugees have never had to do in their homeland, and something that many Americans take for granted. Pipher describes one woman she was working with, and how she thought that people were supposed to stop directly under the traffic lights.


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A traffic light is a seemingly simple object to many of us, and the rules surrounding them seem straightforward; however, many of us have been riding in cars since the day we were born. Imagine what driving must be like for someone who has never seen a car! Part two takes readers through different stages of life, describing what kinds of hardships are experienced by children, teens and adults. Pipher explains that school is often the first time that young children will be separated from their families. For refugee children, not only are they separated from their family during the day, but they are also experiencing culture shock.

Pipher goes on to describe ten children in an ESL classroom, and how their teacher and school experience helped them transition into their new lives.

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Our concept of adolescence is discordant with the values of many cultures…Refugees are amazed by how American teenagers treat their parents and grandparents. Many of the ELL teens plan to live at home until they are married. Some hope to live all of their lives with their families. And yet, at school, like all American teenagers, they learn to think for themselves. In fact, the major identity struggles of refugee tens involve finding balance between independence and their obligations to family and community. Finding identity is a struggle for most teens.

The Middle of Everywhere

Given Pipher's record and the increased attention by Americans to foreigners in our midst, this should sell handsomely. View Full Version of PW. More By and About This Author.

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