Skip to main content
Cover for A Tender Struggle

A Tender Struggle

Story of a Marriage

Krista Bremer

Paperback

List Price: 15.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (4/21/2014)
Compact Disc (4/22/2014)
MP3 CD (4/22/2014)
CD-Audio (4/22/2014)
Hardcover, Large Print (6/25/2014)
Hardcover (4/22/2014)

Description

“A story about love, marriage, compromise, parenthood and the difference between the life one imagined and reality.”*

Fifteen years ago, Krista Bremer, a California-bred feminist, surfer, and aspiring journalist, met Ismail Suayah, sincere, passionate, kind, yet from a very different world. One of eight siblings born in an impoverished fishing village in Libya, Ismail was raised a Muslim—and his faith informed his life. When Krista and Ismail made the decision to become a family, she embarked on a journey she never could have imagined, an accidental jihad: a quest for spiritual and intellectual growth that would open her mind and, more important, her heart.

“A bold piece of writing (and thinking) by an incredibly brave woman.”  —Elizabeth Gilbert, author of The Signature of All Things

“A moving, lyrical memoir.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Candid and rich.” —Good Housekeeping

“Unrelenting candor and  gorgeous prose.” —BookPage

“Krista Bremer has a very good story.” —The New York Times Book Review

“A beautiful account of [Krista’s] jihad, or struggle, to find peace within herself and within her marriage.” —The Kansas City Star

“Lucid, heartfelt, and profoundly humane . . . Navigates the boundaries of religion and politics to arrive at the universal experience of love.” —G. Willow Wilson, author of Alif the Unseen

“This is a memoir worth reading.” —*Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Praise For A Tender Struggle: Story of a Marriage

My Accidental Jihad is a bold piece of writing (and thinking) by an incredibly brave woman.” —Elizabeth Gilbert, author of The Signature of All Things and Eat, Pray, Love

“Utterly absorbing . . . A beautiful book.” —Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

“Candid and rich.” —Good Housekeeping

“Lucid, heartfelt and profoundly humane, My Accidental Jihad navigates the boundaries of religion and politics to arrive at the universal experience of love.” —G. Willow Wilson, author of Alif the Unseen

“A beautiful account of [Bremer’s] jihad, or struggle, to find peace within herself and within her marriage.” —The Kansas City Star

“Readers of memoir will welcome this love story about patience and kindness and learning the importance of putting culture first.” —Library Journal

“A moving, lyrical memoir . . . A sweet and rewarding journey of a book.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Told with rare honesty, My Accidental Jihad is the story of Krista Bremer's lifelong quest for insight and understanding, a search that leads her out of the Pacific surf to journalism school in North Carolina and through the complex challenges and unexpected joys of a cross-cultural marriage and family. This book is a powerfully personal account of the courage and hard work necessary to open one's heart and keep it that way.” —Maggie Shipstead, author of Seating Arrangements

My Accidental Jihad is one of the most captivating and moving memoirs I've read in years. The story Krista Bremer tells--one of radical foreignness between a married couple--could be a metaphor for all committed relationships.” —Haven Kimmel, author of A Girl Named Zippy



My Accidental Jihad is a bold piece of writing (and thinking) by an incredibly brave woman.” —Elizabeth Gilbert, author of The Signature of All Things and Eat, Pray, Love

“Utterly absorbing . . . A beautiful book.” —Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

“Candid and rich.” —Good Housekeeping

“Lucid, heartfelt and profoundly humane, My Accidental Jihad navigates the boundaries of religion and politics to arrive at the universal experience of love.” —G. Willow Wilson, author of Alif the Unseen

“A beautiful account of [Bremer’s] jihad, or struggle, to find peace within herself and within her marriage.” —The Kansas City Star

“Readers of memoir will welcome this love story about patience and kindness and learning the importance of putting culture first.” —Library Journal

“A moving, lyrical memoir . . . A sweet and rewarding journey of a book.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Told with rare honesty, My Accidental Jihad is the story of Krista Bremer's lifelong quest for insight and understanding, a search that leads her out of the Pacific surf to journalism school in North Carolina and through the complex challenges and unexpected joys of a cross-cultural marriage and family. This book is a powerfully personal account of the courage and hard work necessary to open one's heart and keep it that way.” —Maggie Shipstead, author of Seating Arrangements

My Accidental Jihad is one of the most captivating and moving memoirs I've read in years. The story Krista Bremer tells--one of radical foreignness between a married couple--could be a metaphor for all committed relationships.” —Haven Kimmel, author of A Girl Named Zippy

Algonquin Books, 9781616204495, 304pp.

Publication Date: March 31, 2015



About the Author

Krista Bremer is the associate publisher of The Sun magazine and the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation award. Her essay on which this book is based, “My Accidental Jihad,” received a Pushcart Prize. Her essays have been published in O: The Oprah Magazine,More magazine, and The Sun, and she’s been featured on NPR and in the PBS series Arab American Stories. Her website is www.kristabremer.com.



Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

How does Krista Bremer’s definition of jihad differ from its common usage in the media—and what does jihad have to do with her love story?


How does Bremer’s understanding of the hijab (head covering) change when she is in Libya? What benefits and drawbacks does she discover in modest Muslim clothing—and what benefits and drawbacks does she identify from the physical exposure she experienced growing up in Southern California?


When she first arrives in Libya, Bremer pities her female Muslim relatives—but she is surprised to discover that they pity her as well. Which aspects of her Western life might they pity, and how does her time in Libya make her rethink notions of freedom and oppression?


How does Bremer’s understanding of feminism and surrender change over the course of the book? Is surrender at odds with feminism? Is surrender synonymous with defeat?


In what ways does Bremer’s marriage change her opinions about diversity and tolerance?


Bremer encounters a dying grandmother during a family gathering in Libya. How does this woman’s experience differ from aging and dying in the United States? What benefits and drawbacks can you identify in her experience?


What are specific examples of Islamophobia in the book? What does Bremer’s experience convey about intolerance and the perception of otherness in the west?


In many ways, this book is about the search for home. What does Bremer convey about home in the final chapter—and do you agree with her definition?


Would you call this a strong marriage? Why or why not?


Do you agree or disagree with Bremer’s assertion that every relationship is bicultural? Which aspects of her struggle are particular to her marriage, and which aspects are universal?