Wrong End of the Table: A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab American Woman Just Trying to Fit In by Ayser Salman

Genre: Nonfiction; Memoir

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Relatability: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Humor: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Themes: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

What’s interesting: Ayser’s story is the perfect juxtaposition between the immigrant trying to fit into American society as well as the Muslim Arab raised in America that no longer fits into Arabic society. Essentially, Ayser is in limbo between two worlds that she doesn’t quite fit into. No matter where she sits, she’s on the wrong end of the table.

My favorite part of the memoir was Ayser’s use of an index in each chapter where there were notations capturing extended thoughts, quips, and interjections from her mother and editor. I found myself trying to speed through sentences so I could read the notation that coupled them. These notations had me crying from laughter and may have even led to a new coffee stain on my favorite Gilmore Girls shirt (you owe me Ayser!).


Review: I really enjoyed Ayser’s memoir. It was full of humor that made her awkward experiences fun to recount, even when they may be otherwise uncomfortable. Her self-deprecating humor gave the memoir a lighter tone and allowed for much laughter within the reflections of Ayser’s past.

Ayser’s journey reflected the journey that many people go through. I can relate to spending a major portion of your life trying to assimilate and working so hard to show that even though you have brown skin, you’re just like everyone one else around you. Then moving from that narrative to one of accepting your reality and finding peace with who you are and creating a balance between your lifestyle, your culture and your ethnicity.

Ayser’s story is a homage to the journey of finding your own strength. It’s a testament to the daily struggle and battles that immigrants face in this country. Her story is one of humor as well as triumph.

*This e-ARC was provided to me from Netgalley and Skyhorse Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

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