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Jerusalem, Drawn and Quartered: One Woman’s Year in the Heart of the Christian, Muslim, Armenian, and Jewish Quarters of Old Jerusalem

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On a night in 1999 when Sarah Tuttle-Singer was barely 18, she was stoned by Palestinian kids just outside one of the gates to the Old City of Jerusalem. In the years that followed, she was terrified to explore the ancient city she so loved. But, sick of living in fear, she has now chosen to live within the Old City's walls, living in each of the four quarters: Christian, On a night in 1999 when Sarah Tuttle-Singer was barely 18, she was stoned by Palestinian kids just outside one of the gates to the Old City of Jerusalem. In the years that followed, she was terrified to explore the ancient city she so loved. But, sick of living in fear, she has now chosen to live within the Old City's walls, living in each of the four quarters: Christian, Muslim, Armenian, and Jewish. Jerusalem’s Old City is the hottest piece of spiritual real estate in the world. For millennia empires have clashed and crumbled over this place. Today, the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians plays out daily in her streets, and the ancient stones run with blood. But it’s also an ordinary city, where people buy vegetables, and sooth colicky babies, where pipes break, where the pious get high, and young couples sneak away to kiss in the shadows. Sarah has thrown herself into the maelstrom of living in each quarter—where time is measured in Sabbath sunsets and morning bells and calls to prayer, in stabbing attacks and check points—keeping the holidays in each quarter, buying bread from the same bread seller, making friends with people who were once her enemies, and learning some of the secrets and sharing the stories that make Jerusalem so special, and so exquisitely ordinary. Jerusalem, Drawn and Quartered is a book for anyone who’s wondered who really lives in Israel, and how they coexist. It’s a book that skillfully weaves the personal and political, the heartwarming and the heart-stopping. It’s a book that only Sarah Tuttle-Singer can write. The Old City of Jerusalem may be set in stone, but it’s always changing—and these pages capture that.


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On a night in 1999 when Sarah Tuttle-Singer was barely 18, she was stoned by Palestinian kids just outside one of the gates to the Old City of Jerusalem. In the years that followed, she was terrified to explore the ancient city she so loved. But, sick of living in fear, she has now chosen to live within the Old City's walls, living in each of the four quarters: Christian, On a night in 1999 when Sarah Tuttle-Singer was barely 18, she was stoned by Palestinian kids just outside one of the gates to the Old City of Jerusalem. In the years that followed, she was terrified to explore the ancient city she so loved. But, sick of living in fear, she has now chosen to live within the Old City's walls, living in each of the four quarters: Christian, Muslim, Armenian, and Jewish. Jerusalem’s Old City is the hottest piece of spiritual real estate in the world. For millennia empires have clashed and crumbled over this place. Today, the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians plays out daily in her streets, and the ancient stones run with blood. But it’s also an ordinary city, where people buy vegetables, and sooth colicky babies, where pipes break, where the pious get high, and young couples sneak away to kiss in the shadows. Sarah has thrown herself into the maelstrom of living in each quarter—where time is measured in Sabbath sunsets and morning bells and calls to prayer, in stabbing attacks and check points—keeping the holidays in each quarter, buying bread from the same bread seller, making friends with people who were once her enemies, and learning some of the secrets and sharing the stories that make Jerusalem so special, and so exquisitely ordinary. Jerusalem, Drawn and Quartered is a book for anyone who’s wondered who really lives in Israel, and how they coexist. It’s a book that skillfully weaves the personal and political, the heartwarming and the heart-stopping. It’s a book that only Sarah Tuttle-Singer can write. The Old City of Jerusalem may be set in stone, but it’s always changing—and these pages capture that.

30 review for Jerusalem, Drawn and Quartered: One Woman’s Year in the Heart of the Christian, Muslim, Armenian, and Jewish Quarters of Old Jerusalem

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Jerusalem, Drawn and Quartered masterfully brings to life Jerusalem, the City of Gold, from the narrow walkways and alleyways that are called streets, to the ramparts and the walls emblazoned with lights through the night. And Sarah brings it to life in a unique way because this isn't a political treatise ( at least not outwardly) or a travel guide, but a deeply personal portrait of her journey and her connection to the holy city. It is, thus, often more about her than about the city and the con Jerusalem, Drawn and Quartered masterfully brings to life Jerusalem, the City of Gold, from the narrow walkways and alleyways that are called streets, to the ramparts and the walls emblazoned with lights through the night. And Sarah brings it to life in a unique way because this isn't a political treatise ( at least not outwardly) or a travel guide, but a deeply personal portrait of her journey and her connection to the holy city. It is, thus, often more about her than about the city and the conflicts in it and includes harrowing details about her failed and sometimes violent relationships and her vast emptiness at losing her mother and her decision to get a mermaid tattoo. But her writing talent is so extraordinary that it is a fascinating book. It's a story about what brought her to Jerusalem and her adventures and connections there and how she got to know people from all quarters of the city and how easy it is to get along on a one on one level if one steps carefully around politics and tribalism. Thanks to Skyhorse Publishing for providing a copy for review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    David Mokotoff

    Tuttle-Singer is a very good writer. However, this memoir is in the end a rather progressive and inaccurate view of the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While true that she has spent considerable time in Israel, and much of it in Jerusalem, she fails to bring a sharp focus onto why there is such bitter turmoil surrounding this wonderful city. I have been to Israel, twice, the last time in 2015 just before the rash of stabbings she describes. It is not her imagery that is lacking, but r Tuttle-Singer is a very good writer. However, this memoir is in the end a rather progressive and inaccurate view of the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While true that she has spent considerable time in Israel, and much of it in Jerusalem, she fails to bring a sharp focus onto why there is such bitter turmoil surrounding this wonderful city. I have been to Israel, twice, the last time in 2015 just before the rash of stabbings she describes. It is not her imagery that is lacking, but rather her post modern world view where all the participants of the golden city seem to share equal blame for the bloodshed and lack of peace. No where does she mention the fact that most Arab, and all Palestinians, leaders refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist. In fact, they would prefer that all Jews in the country be driven into the sea. She bemoans the fact that Arab boys are frisked too hard or beaten by Israeli soldiers, all while they could be the next stabbing perp. She never mentions the Palestinian practice of rewarding the families of dead terrorists. She equates Israeli terrorists with Arab ones so that they share equal blame in her mind. She points out that one of her son's teachers told her all Arabs were terrorists. While of course this in not true, at least Israeli schools do not teach and perpetuate the myth of Jewish blood libel, where for centuries they have been taught that Jews make Matzoh from Arabic children's blood. She never mentions that if the Palestinian leaders would only accept Israels"s right to exist there could be peace tomorrow. All memoirs are of of course self-indulgent. However, she must have mentioned at least a dozen times during the course of the book the details of her stoning at the Damascus gate many years ago. Two or three times would have been more than enough. Her abusive relationships with at least two men also contribute nothing to the story. I found myself about half way through this work wanting it to get better and finally just to end. She does describe in detail the many interesting characters living inside the city's quarters, but had I not visited there myself, I am not sure I would have felt and sensed the deeply religious flavors that flow there. She at least twice says she feels nothing but stone when she touches the Western, (Wailing) Wall. As a Jew I don't even know how that is possible. She is more excited by Tinder hook-ups, hashish, and and body piercings and tattoos. Perhaps it is generational but I can't relate to these things. In the end the trouble I am having is that this book has more to do about her than about Jerusalem. The idea and title for the book are tantalizing and she writes well. However, I found myself not being able to wait for it to end. And that is sad.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Moran

    Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered represented the final book entry for this year (5781) for the Israel Between the Pages book club at CBB. Going into this book, I expected an exploration of the city that was based in anthropology and history. However, the story is more of a personal memoir by the author, Sarah Tuttle-Singer. And for those expecting a pleasant tale, this is not it! If there’s one thing I can say about the writing in this book is that it’s very raw and honest. In the first chapter, Tu Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered represented the final book entry for this year (5781) for the Israel Between the Pages book club at CBB. Going into this book, I expected an exploration of the city that was based in anthropology and history. However, the story is more of a personal memoir by the author, Sarah Tuttle-Singer. And for those expecting a pleasant tale, this is not it! If there’s one thing I can say about the writing in this book is that it’s very raw and honest. In the first chapter, Tuttle-Singer shares deeply personal and traumatic experiences that include her being raped on a trip to Israel, being stoned by teenagers at Damascus Gate, and having to deal with the death of her mother from cancer. Once Tuttle-Singer’s jarring introduction to her life is completed in the first couple chapters, she delves into the main purpose of the book, which is to explore Jerusalem and its people over the course of a year while living in the old city. These explorations occur largely through conversations and interactions with various people in the city. The people represented in the book are interesting types, but none of them linger long enough to become very multi-dimensional. Their fleeting presence in the book also leads to broad and inconclusive generalizations (not offensive generalizations, but generalizations nonetheless). Throughout the narrative, Tuttle-Singer periodically interjects reflections on her past traumas into the story and attempts to tie them into her current experiences in the city. There were a handful of stories in the book that stood out to me. There was one about Tuttle-Singer accompanying a friend to the Temple Mount so that the friend could secretly pray. There was another story (which felt poignant given the recent events in Israel) about her seeing an Arab acquaintance making violent declarations against Jews at a protest by Palesitians to reclaim Al-Aqsa Mosque and later seeing that same person show extreme delicacy and compassion towards a kitten found in a pipe. And another story about her daughter re-contextualizing a statement expressed by one of her peers that generalized Arabs. All in all, though, I believe this book acts as a catalyst for remembrance for those reading it. Those that have been to Jerusalem will trigger personal memories of the city through Tuttle-Singer’s recollections. Those that are looking to learn about Jerusalem from the book will learn as much about it as they would about the people living in Paris through a movie like Paris, je t'aime.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sleepless Dreamer

    I want to start this review with talking about this Monday when I had the chance to meet the author. I've been following Sarah's writing on Facebook and TOI and I love it. So I was really fangirling when meeting her. She was amazing. Not just because of her wisedom and thoughts (although yes) but because of how wam and genuine she was. She managed to make everyone around her feel special and loved. Between if it was compliementing people, listening sincerely, taking a picture of my tattoo or sha I want to start this review with talking about this Monday when I had the chance to meet the author. I've been following Sarah's writing on Facebook and TOI and I love it. So I was really fangirling when meeting her. She was amazing. Not just because of her wisedom and thoughts (although yes) but because of how wam and genuine she was. She managed to make everyone around her feel special and loved. Between if it was compliementing people, listening sincerely, taking a picture of my tattoo or sharing her glass of whiskey with all the participants of the conversation, I am so full of admiration towards her. So, the book. I'm so happy that this book was so good. It highlighted the best parts of my favorite city and hometown. It enterwined the politics, love, Sarah's own journey and history, the smells and tastes of the city and just managed to make them beautiful together. It showed how it all comes together, broken and scarred yet perfect. Readers of TOI will recognize some parts but there's so much that's new. Watching it come together was also amazing, seeing the behind the scenes. Sarah is such a role model to me. It's incredible to hear someone say the exact words you feel, manage to be a Zionist and yet care about the Palestinian cause, to be a perfect mermaid, dance between worlds. I could have quoted three quarters of this book because it's all so pretty. So, I fear I must end this review short but you guys all need to read this book. It's wondeful. What I'm Taking with Me - Understanding someone else's pain does not take away from your truth. That is, admitting Palestinians experienced great pain in 1948 does not mean I'm apologizing for Israel's victory. - This is a life path you can take. I can actually go live in the Old City and write a book (well, I won't cause that's been done obviously) but I want to do something like this. - You can befriend anyone. If you stay long enough in a certain place, you will make it home. Even with the bad, we are able to overcome.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Erika Dreifus

    Beautiful book. Grateful for the opportunity to read a complimentary e-galley.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Karen.s

    I too am familiar with Sarah from her social media presence, where her open and honest writing has often brought tears to my eyes. But that did not prepare me for reading this book. She has an incredible knack for knocking your breath out without you seeing it coming. Not a slow build up of emotion but a gut punch that evokes immediate full-on sobs. This is a raw journey, not a trip, of Sarah coming to terms with who she is, with this city she loves and finding her mother, whose presences winds I too am familiar with Sarah from her social media presence, where her open and honest writing has often brought tears to my eyes. But that did not prepare me for reading this book. She has an incredible knack for knocking your breath out without you seeing it coming. Not a slow build up of emotion but a gut punch that evokes immediate full-on sobs. This is a raw journey, not a trip, of Sarah coming to terms with who she is, with this city she loves and finding her mother, whose presences winds its way through the book as much as the winding passages of the Old City. She connects people, places and ideas that don't obviously connect. I absolutely adored her 6 page exploration of faith and how its expressed by the Muslims, Christians and Jews she know. The universality of it. It's not a political book or an examination of the conflict, and how refreshing that is. I personally hate Jerusalem but would really love to experience the city with Sarah. She makes me want to give it yet another chance.

  7. 4 out of 5

    kristie Lynn OBrien

    I was expecting to read an intelligent and heart-felt book full of nuanced narratives of the people who weave the rich fabric of Jerusalem culture, but was sorely disappointed. I gave myself permission to skip to the final chapter at 42%, then couldn’t even finish. The Jewish American does a pathetic and superficial, minor attempt to capture any narrative but of her painful own one. It reads like poorly written ramble as well.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Harold

    Before diving into Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered by Sarah Tuttle-Singer (Skyhorse Publishing, due May 8, 2018), I wondered, what more might be said about Jerusalem that hasn’t been presented over centuries? Moreover, how is Tuttle-Singer, with a reputation as a social media virtuoso, in a position to write a meaningful book of polemology that practically defines Jerusalem? Can this lurching work in progress I know from her posts on social media bring clarity to the world’s holiest City imbued wit Before diving into Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered by Sarah Tuttle-Singer (Skyhorse Publishing, due May 8, 2018), I wondered, what more might be said about Jerusalem that hasn’t been presented over centuries? Moreover, how is Tuttle-Singer, with a reputation as a social media virtuoso, in a position to write a meaningful book of polemology that practically defines Jerusalem? Can this lurching work in progress I know from her posts on social media bring clarity to the world’s holiest City imbued with the Divine Spirit? Sarah does so much better. The book is one idiosyncratic, irresistible fast-read, revealing nitty-gritty life in the City. She humanizes Jerusalem. Gone are screaming headlines. No polemics. No religious zealotry. No blazing battles over nationalism. It is a tale about a young American woman coming of age in an explosively young country. Sarah moves into an ancient but vibrant City coming into its own after centuries of being drawn and quartered. If it were a book just about Sarah’s life it would be ordinary. But she has a comfortable writing style that carries the reader along with her. Her mind works like an artist’s eye letting Sarah view her surroundings differently than most other people. Her personality is relatable, and together these functionalities result in her weaving two trendy topics, her personal growth and that of the bracingly straightforward modern Jerusalem. Her stories stimulate all five senses, and Sarah is a marvelous storyteller. “The street smells like coffee and ripe strawberries and saffron. You can buy bags of pink and blue almonds, and Christmas lights during Ramadan, to illuminate the night.” Sarah offers snippets of the Old City’s history, politics, and religions mingling with her stories about the daily life of shopkeepers, residents, and tourists. All who pass through its gates, she discovers, share her love and lust for the Old City and its people. Sarah is a mix of Holden Caulfield and Lady Bird propelled by her Jewish soul. Sarah flashes revelatory memories of teenage rebellion and angst. Memories of her mother take on context and new meaning for Sarah in her adulthood and motherhood. We watch Sarah learn to be an adult and like herself. Jerusalem is no longer allowing its bad memories of being drawn and quartered hold it back and Sarah’s bad memories help her find her own voice. Sarah is notoriously independent and flouts societal norms and expectations. At the same time, she reveals herself to be a hena, i.e., a very sweet, beautiful girl, whose interactions with strangers evoke a smile and trust getting them talking. She tells about her conversations with the Palestinian taxi driver boyfriend of a Jewish Israeli, and the ultra-Orthodox wife and mother starving for affection. The cold stone Old City can appear rough and raw, but believers and the faithful can touch the indentation in one wall “left by Jesus Himself when he stumbled and almost fell.” When Sarah touches the cold Jerusalem stone, she feels a warmth from the spot. Sarah defines herself a patriotic Jew choosing to live in her homeland, while yearning for a connection with ultra-religious Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Armenians. Sarah cringes at the limited interaction between them. “We all live in different worlds” in the same four quarters. It’s a chasm she tries to bridge. She and the City are hip and novel today, centers of attention. “Cell reception sucks in the Old City. It’s like, the closer you get to God, the worse the network and the harder to communicate with humans.” The Damascus Gate is it’s most interesting entry point, “Where old women sit cross-legged in the sun and sell ripe figs, where ultra-Orthodox Jews enter the Muslim Quarter in their black hats and black suits to get to the Yeshiva or the Kotel, where tourists waft down the steps into the shuck speaking French or Italian or Russian, where young guys speaking Arabic with gelled hair are frisked and searched without any reason other than the fact that they’re young guys speaking Arabic, where you won’t see any Jewish Birthright groups because they’re warned ‘It isn’t safe.’” There are three subjects this reviewer prefers the author explored in more depth. I want to know more about her failed marriage. She uses it as a reference point more than once and seemingly laced with love. A second lacuna is a story she tells of a mysterious male friend of her mother. He was unknown to Sarah or her father. She tracks him down after her mother’s death but there is no insight into his role in their lives. It niggles at the reader why she mentions him, and though Sarah dismisses the notion he might have been her mother’s lover the reader is never quite certain. Sarah includes the story in the book for some reason. Why and what does she learn? Another problem with Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered is the consensual sex scenes. They feel gratuitous. Perhaps the editor cajoled the author to include them to make the book racier because sex sells? I have no doubt Sarah had these experiences, but the sex is bath foam to her insights. Two mise-en-scènes are salacious but not organic to the story. The book includes candid snapshots of the author in various settings. It’s a nice touch reflective of the social media channel on which Sarah is a rising star. They symbolically meld Sarah and the City. The book is not a memoir but an enjoyable telling of personal stories about her life and Jerusalem’s in shared discovery. Sarah is too young to write a memoir, but no one is too young or old to read her breakout- engrossing book. Keep writing like this and she better get fond of celebrity status. Cover picture below Reviewer’s Brief Bio: Dr. Goldmeier received the Governor’s Award (Illinois) for family investment programs in the workplace from the Com. on the Status of Women. He was a Research and Teaching Fellow at Harvard earning a doctorate. His first book is HEALTHCARE INSIGHTS: BETTER CARE BETTER BUSINESS He worked in the administrations of four Governors. Currently, Harold is Managing Partner of an investment firm, a consultant to firms in commerce and industry, writer, and public speaker on public policy issues. He teaches Mid-East Politics, Business Management & Marketing, & Values & Ethics courses to international university students in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Harold is a writer for GreenPoint Global and Seeking Alpha both international firms specializing in topics about healthcare & medicine, business management & investment, marketing & culture, and the publishing industry. His articles and book reviews appear in Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, The Jerusalem Post, Seeking Alpha financial website, Life in Israel, Arutz Sheva, Times of Israel, and US GreenTechnologies. Harold contributed a series of articles in the Gale Business Insights Handbook of Investment Research. Goldmeier can be reached at [email protected]

  9. 5 out of 5

    Elly

    I loved the writing, it’s vivid and evocative, and I loved the writer’s spirit, a wanderer hungry to discover, learn, experience, and maybe understand.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I read this book a few months ago and since then have struggled to put into words what it meant to me. As Jews we are commanded to never forget Jerusalem. I'm more of a Tel Aviv person, but there is an undeniable spiritual pull to Jerusalem that is undeniable. Every time I go, even though it is often for only one day, I come back with a wealth of stories. The thing about Jerusalem, and what makes it both so complicated and beautiful, is that this spiritual pull to Jerusalem is felt not just by J I read this book a few months ago and since then have struggled to put into words what it meant to me. As Jews we are commanded to never forget Jerusalem. I'm more of a Tel Aviv person, but there is an undeniable spiritual pull to Jerusalem that is undeniable. Every time I go, even though it is often for only one day, I come back with a wealth of stories. The thing about Jerusalem, and what makes it both so complicated and beautiful, is that this spiritual pull to Jerusalem is felt not just by Jews but by Muslims, Christians, Armenians, and so many others. In this book it is one of the first times that I felt the beauty and complexity jumping off the page. Sarah is a gifted storyteller and I really love the way that she tells the stories of those around her. Through her book, I felt like I wasn't just getting to know Sarah (although she is a fascinating person who I love learning about) but that I was also learning more about people who call Jerusalem home. I am thankful for the wealth of perspectives that she featured in her book. It was like a magical Jerusalem day wrapped into a book. What was most special for me about this book is that it was a reminder that there are other liberal Zionists out there. People who believe that Israel is the Jewish homeland and that our fate is intertwined with the others who share this land. I think Sarah's perspective is an incredibly important one. I hope that she continues to write and that people continue to read her writing for many more years to come.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kszr

    An interesting and challenging idea, but I never got the feeling that she was able to draw out any strong convictions - for herself or her kids. She seemed to be drifting through life, letting others make choices for her all along the way. Would have like much more on the different smells and sounds of the different quarters - it seems too superficial of an examination of what lies beneath.

  12. 5 out of 5

    David Hirshberg

    Earlier this year, I read A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz. It was the first book that gave me real insight into modern-day Jerusalem, primarily from the vantage point of a young boy before, during, and after the War of Independence. It is a remarkable memoir that’s left an indelible impression me, as I’ve spent a lot of time in Jerusalem over the years. I just finished Jerusalem, Drawn and Quartered and wanted to let everyone know that it is as praiseworthy as A Tale of Love and Darkness. Earlier this year, I read A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz. It was the first book that gave me real insight into modern-day Jerusalem, primarily from the vantage point of a young boy before, during, and after the War of Independence. It is a remarkable memoir that’s left an indelible impression me, as I’ve spent a lot of time in Jerusalem over the years. I just finished Jerusalem, Drawn and Quartered and wanted to let everyone know that it is as praiseworthy as A Tale of Love and Darkness. Of course, the writing styles between the two books couldn’t be more different. That’s to be expected, as the two authors hail from different generations and came to Israel through different routes. They both write from the heart, which makes their books more than what is usually put on paper as written from what the eyes see. Sarah is a gifted writer and drew me in right from the beginning. What she has gone through—in slightly more than half of my years—and come out of successfully is inspiring. Her insights and honesty are so refreshing. What especially appealed to me is how she interwove her family’s story into the narrative without dragging it down. It gave the reader an intense understanding of who she is and why she acts as she does. It reminded me of Abigail Pogrebin’s book My Jewish Year. In that book, Abby celebrated the major (and some minor) Jewish holidays over a one year period with Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, and Jewish Renewal, learning the differences and similarities of these various denominations. I thought of her comings and goings with these groups as I followed Sarah through the four quarters of the Old City. Both of these authors stopped and listened and became friends with those who lived and prayed differently. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with what Sarah has written and who you are today. I look forward to reading more of her reportage and hope she has another book idea.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brandy

    With the way Sarah painted the motley surroundings of a single city, reading "Jerusalem, Drawn and Quartered" made me feel like I dropped in right there next to her – eating hummus and drinking pomegranate juice, walking (stumbling) down the stony, secret alleys, and watching the city’s people who all bleed the same color. Somehow I’ve gotten to my fortieth year without much thought about or interest in Israel, for no real reason at all. I’ve followed Sarah on social media and she has been my win With the way Sarah painted the motley surroundings of a single city, reading "Jerusalem, Drawn and Quartered" made me feel like I dropped in right there next to her – eating hummus and drinking pomegranate juice, walking (stumbling) down the stony, secret alleys, and watching the city’s people who all bleed the same color. Somehow I’ve gotten to my fortieth year without much thought about or interest in Israel, for no real reason at all. I’ve followed Sarah on social media and she has been my window into what feels to me like a faraway place. As I read Sarah’s book, I felt myself trying to figure out how I might visit this layered land someday soon. I want to smell the smells she so brilliantly describes. I want to see such an ancient, sacred place that I assume is the home to colors I’ve never even seen before – colors that only exist in Jerusalem. A part of me wants to see firsthand the tension Sarah describes – the way people share and fight over a city they love, that each believe belongs to them. Aside from genuinely piquing my interest in Jerusalem, there were wonderfully human elements of the book that kept me engaged from start to finish – a childhood in Los Angeles wrapped in loss, the challenges of womanhood, motherhood and divorce, and this idea of being a mermaid, with the ability to float between more than one world. Throughout the book, Sarah’s deep inner world and history was woven beautifully into the vibrant outer world of Jerusalem. Sarah’s writing has the perfect balance of heart and humor, including an impeccably-timed "Spaceballs" reference. If you want to read a book that feeds all of your senses, spills Sarah's secrets and also teaches you about the complicated, yet beautiful city of Jerusalem, be sure to check out "Jerusalem, Drawn and Quartered."

  14. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I liked this book overall but I found it uneven in its sometime focus in a variety of folks with interesting stories who live in Jerusalem and the author’s very personal sharing of her life experiences. She is a very good writer and because of this, I sought out and read a couple of her blogs. I would absolutely read other things by her. I was frustrated though by her decision to loop back again and again to her personal trauma. I am so sorry that she lived through rape, other violence, poverty I liked this book overall but I found it uneven in its sometime focus in a variety of folks with interesting stories who live in Jerusalem and the author’s very personal sharing of her life experiences. She is a very good writer and because of this, I sought out and read a couple of her blogs. I would absolutely read other things by her. I was frustrated though by her decision to loop back again and again to her personal trauma. I am so sorry that she lived through rape, other violence, poverty and a divorce. I don’t know why she wanted to tell us about her recreational drug use repeatedly and her casual sexual relationships. She has the right to live as she chooses but I don’t know that some of those personal stories were as moving as the conversations she shared with us that she has had with dozens of folks who live in Jerusalem. I loved reading about their perspectives. She does a good job of showing us the complexities of culture clashes in the city as well as why she loves the city so much. An intriguing book and worth reading but I think it’s really two stories - her personal journey processing the traumas of her life and the story of life in Jerusalem.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kasim Hafeez

    So firstly it’s uncommon for me to read a book in 3 days. But while not what I naively was expecting, which was essential a dry perspective of the 4 quarters of the Old City. This was an incredibly engaging, real, human experience that weaves in to the authors experiences in life to her experiences in the diverse quarters of the old city. The book is incredibly engaging and just the willingness to be authentic and share what must be difficult experiences is admirable. But in reading the whole bo So firstly it’s uncommon for me to read a book in 3 days. But while not what I naively was expecting, which was essential a dry perspective of the 4 quarters of the Old City. This was an incredibly engaging, real, human experience that weaves in to the authors experiences in life to her experiences in the diverse quarters of the old city. The book is incredibly engaging and just the willingness to be authentic and share what must be difficult experiences is admirable. But in reading the whole book you see how these experiences have been shaping and how they have been challenged. Ultimately it’s a story about the author, but it’s also the story of Jerusalem. They are woven together with all the rollercoaster of ups and downs, the uncertainty and tensions of the city and I feel in the story of Jerusalem we see the sparks of hope and just humanity that we lose too often when we talk of the Middle East.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mel

    This is not exactly what I had expected. There are pieces that repeat and repeat and repeat so that you are driven a bit mad. In the end it comes together though to make a certain kind of sense I appreciate. Two years ago I made a trip to the Holy Lands with my wife as part of a Christian group. We had a wonderful guide who lives in the Old City. He gave me an appreciation for being a Palestinian Christian trying to make a living and a life there. I read this to add to my understanding of the pe This is not exactly what I had expected. There are pieces that repeat and repeat and repeat so that you are driven a bit mad. In the end it comes together though to make a certain kind of sense I appreciate. Two years ago I made a trip to the Holy Lands with my wife as part of a Christian group. We had a wonderful guide who lives in the Old City. He gave me an appreciation for being a Palestinian Christian trying to make a living and a life there. I read this to add to my understanding of the people who call the area home. This offers a less rigid Jewish perspective to the Christian view I already have some knowledge of from that trip. I visited the West Bank and Jordon as well but Jerusalem was the high point. If nothing else this book brings back a flood of memories and I recall many complexities I experienced. The book adds to my knowledge base if not my understanding. I think understanding only comes after as this author did and lives in the city.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hadron.2quarks

    Jerusalem's mermaid: raw, honest and slightly crazy I am a Sarah Tuttle-Singer reader thru subscription to the Times of Israel and her personal Facebook for five plus years. I read her because she is fresh, insightful and fun thinking to this highly conflicted region. With her new book Sarah becomes legend. Jerusalem has a "mermaid" who sings a siren song for all the multitudes of the city. And what a raw, honest ballad it is. For anyone, at a thinking level, interested in this region this is a mu Jerusalem's mermaid: raw, honest and slightly crazy I am a Sarah Tuttle-Singer reader thru subscription to the Times of Israel and her personal Facebook for five plus years. I read her because she is fresh, insightful and fun thinking to this highly conflicted region. With her new book Sarah becomes legend. Jerusalem has a "mermaid" who sings a siren song for all the multitudes of the city. And what a raw, honest ballad it is. For anyone, at a thinking level, interested in this region this is a must read. I am sending a copy to Jared and Ivanka Kushner with a request to read. My bet is Ivanka will meet the mermaid over coffee ☕and that will have far reaching impacts in peace for Jerusalem.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jae

    Well written and honest I found this book thought provoking and raw. I chose to read this book as I was visiting Jerusalem. I could relate to the mixed feelings of Jewish pride and connection and empathy and shame when considering the Palestinian situation. I sat and read on the rooftop where the four quarters meet and found a shop in the Shuk with a window in the floor. I loved how this book made me see Jerusalem from a totally different perspective and gave me the chance to share these thoughts Well written and honest I found this book thought provoking and raw. I chose to read this book as I was visiting Jerusalem. I could relate to the mixed feelings of Jewish pride and connection and empathy and shame when considering the Palestinian situation. I sat and read on the rooftop where the four quarters meet and found a shop in the Shuk with a window in the floor. I loved how this book made me see Jerusalem from a totally different perspective and gave me the chance to share these thoughts with my son who joined me on my travels to celebrate his barmitzvah.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sabeeha Rehman

    In a very refreshing writing style, Sarah draws you into the heart of Jerusalem. She lived in the Muslim and Jewish quarters, hung out with both Arabs and Jews. The message one is left with is that irrespective of our politics or faith, at the end of the day, we are all human. We all have the same yearnings, the same shortcomings, and no one, as in, no one, is better than the other. A very unifying message.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Leora Ifrailova

    I want Sarah to physically guide me through the Old City so I could see it with fresh eyes next time I visit. I want to meet people she's met, gather thoughts, take candids of life's beautiful moments. I devoured this book in two sittings and will devour anything she writes. This book tore open those parts of myself I'd forgotten I buried. She is a wordsmith, a soulful soul, and a deeply inspiring Jew. I'm proud to call this my first 5/5 book of 2020. I want Sarah to physically guide me through the Old City so I could see it with fresh eyes next time I visit. I want to meet people she's met, gather thoughts, take candids of life's beautiful moments. I devoured this book in two sittings and will devour anything she writes. This book tore open those parts of myself I'd forgotten I buried. She is a wordsmith, a soulful soul, and a deeply inspiring Jew. I'm proud to call this my first 5/5 book of 2020.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Eric Schudy

    Beautiful book. Hard to tell the writer from the city. Both their personalities intertwine, merge, and reflect one another. Excellent read, but still angry about the grey man and kibbutz man.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ken Buddington

    Amazing This is a story that should be read by anyone who tries to bring bring peace to the Palestinians and Israelites. It is possible if you just take the time to find the humanity in one another.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Elise

    Beautifully written memoir. Read this book. Here is my full review https://journalingonpaper.com/2018/03... Beautifully written memoir. Read this book. Here is my full review https://journalingonpaper.com/2018/03...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Carla

    Smart and funny and poignant, but could have used a better editor and a proofreader. The errors and grammatical inconsistencies became very annoying after a while.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa Dalal

    Loved it!! Wasn’t looking for a tour guide, was looking for an experience. She delineates it beautifully!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Linda Jacob

    She lives and immoral life and wonders why she was treated like a whore. Terrible story.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mindy

    Not balanced or particularly well written but I did enjoy visiting Jerusalem with her

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rabbi

    Great book. Sarah's writing brings out her personality along with that of the Old City and its residents. Great book. Sarah's writing brings out her personality along with that of the Old City and its residents.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lynne

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3.5 stars They say a person never forgets their "first", and I suppose that's true at least for me when it comes to cities and countries as Israel will always have a special place in my heart... Full review: https://wp.me/p36jwx-1mr 3.5 stars They say a person never forgets their "first", and I suppose that's true at least for me when it comes to cities and countries as Israel will always have a special place in my heart... Full review: https://wp.me/p36jwx-1mr

  30. 5 out of 5

    Daniela

    Excellent book capturing the nuances of this city. Full review up on my blog.

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