Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes
by Kamal Al-Solaylee (HarperCollins Canada, 2012)
To get students thinking about the challenges facing someone who writes a memoir, ask them how they would tell or write a story about one of their own significant memories. Use the following questions to begin the discussion, and encourage students to add questions of their own.
• What difference does it make if you are telling your story to people who don’t know much about the event or even about you? What important and necessary background details would you include?
• How would you get across to your audience why the memory matters to you? And, at the same time, how would you keep your listeners engaged in the forward movement of your story?
• How would you present the other characters in your story? What details would you include about setting and scenes? How would you present the action of the story?
• What would you want your audience to understand about your story? What themes or main ideas would you want them to remember? What would you want your story to mean?
See the teaching resource for more lesson ideas.
Cross-curricular Suggestions: Social Studies, History, Economics
Students could study Intolerable to extend their historical perspective on the culture and conflicts of the Middle East. Al-Solaylee’s memoir will also help students consider current events in a historical context and appreciate how national and global economic and political conditions affect people in their daily lives.