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The Middle of Everywhere: Helping Refugees Enter the American Community by Mary Pipher


[Full disclosure: This is a book I borrowed from the library where I work, so I read the book for free.]

I've waited a few days to blog since reading The Middle of Everywhere: Helping Refugees Enter the American Community by Mary Pipher (2002) since I couldn't quite decide what I wanted to say.

Probably best known as the author of Reviving Ophelia, Pipher is a clinical psychologist who happens to live where I live (Lincoln, Nebraska), though I've never met her. She obviously has a great love for Lincoln and a strong interest in helping refugees build new lives here, one of the top American cities where immigrants are sent to live. There are thriving communities of Vietnamese, Sudanese, Bosnian, Kurdish, etc. people living in Lincoln now.

My biggest complaint about The Middle of Everywhere, which is obviously written to provide a roadmap for groups and individuals interested in assisting refugees and as a way to increase the understanding of those born in the United States about what immigrants to this country experience, is the overall tone. Despite obviously caring about the people she helps, Pipher still sounds patronizing as she describes her interactions with them.

Also, and this is definitely a recurrent theme in my postings, the book could easily be dropped to half the size with the oversight of a decent editor. Half the size and probably two or three times the quality.

Despite having an interest in cultural interactions and enjoying reading about people living in my community, I can't recommend anyone rush to read this book.

My overall personal rating of The Middle of Everywhere is a C+.

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