Love Across Walls
RONIT AND JAMIL is a novel in verse that tells the story of two young lovers on opposite sides of a war. In this emotional retelling of Romeo and Juliet, Ronit, an young Israeli girl, and Jamil, a Palestinian boy, both accompany their fathers into the clinics where they work and are both instructed not to look at or talk to one another. While their father’s work together as doctors trying to bridge the gap between the conflict, the prejudice and tension is obvious as Ronit and Jamil make the rounds.
Ronit and Jamil disobey their father’s wishes and begin to feel a mutual attraction to one another as they work in close proximity. They slip their phone numbers to one another and begin texting plans for a secret meet-up, hiding their feelings from their families and defying the prejudices that surround them. While their relationship blossoms, they are faced with overcoming their own fears towards the conflict, and the danger that their love affair inevitably presents.
What I loved about this book was the tenderness that their love brought to a very complicated conflict. Both Ronit and Jamil have room to air their hurts and fears with one another, while ultimately coming to the conclusion that they are willing to try to overcome years of cultural conflict to try and be together.
In true Romeo and Juliet fashion, their families are opposed and suspicious of their growing relationship. You hear from both fathers, which only adds to the depth of the story, and the pain that they both have seen inflicted on their countries. This opens the door for readers to better understand the long history of violence and pain on both sides of the wall. Which makes Ronit and Jamil’s story that much more complicated and beautiful.
The lyrical prose lends itself to this spectacular retelling of Romeo and Juliet, and author Pamela Laskin creates a riveting narrative that sucks the reader into this love story that transcends walls and wars.