Walk With Me, My Son

You and I Have Some Stories to Tell

Non-Fiction - Historical
168 Pages
Reviewed on 09/02/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Walk With Me, My Son: You and I Have Some Stories to Tell by Richard Asmet Awid is a look into the Lebanese migration to North America more than a century ago from a personal perspective. The author's father, Ehmid Alley Awid Amerey, was 19 years old when he left the chaotic Ottoman Empire in Lebanon behind and moved to Canada for a better life. Before coming to Canada, Ehmid was responsible for looking after a hundred goats. However, he left the simplicity of life behind with his friend Ali to become rich in Canada. From there onwards, Ehmid became Ahmed and navigated his life as a Muslim living in Canada. He starts his journey by being a peddler, opening his own business, finding love, starting a family, and living his life to the fullest. His son, Richard Asmet Awid retells the tale of Ehmid’s struggles as he built a life in a strange country and shared some valuable life lessons with his children.

It’s surprising to find out that Lebanese people have such deep roots in Canada. The narrative is smooth and so simple. It makes it easy for readers to lose themselves in the story and feel what Ehmid is going through. I am sure Ehmid worked harder than he told his son; you get the feeling that this man (a teenager at the time) worked hard just to survive the first few years in a foreign country and worked even harder to provide a better life to his children. Richard Asmet Awid has done an incredible job of making the story relatable and enjoyable at the same time. His research shows in the way the narrative is detailed. Walk With Me, My Son is entertaining as well as educational!

Astrid Iustulin

There are family stories that are really worth telling. This is the case with the family of Richard Asmet Awid, the author of Walk With Me, My Son: You and I Have Some Stories to Tell. Awid begins his amazing tale from the moment his father leaves Lebanon in 1901 to move to Canada, hoping to find better opportunities there. In Canada, he gets married and has a large family. In the pages of Walk With Me, My Son, Awid will introduce us to his many family members (the author has fifteen siblings) and to the world of the Lebanese community in Canada, allowing us to take an in-depth look at their activities and customs.

Some memoirs get monotonous and repetitive after the first few pages but Walk With Me, My Son never ceases to fascinate the reader. If there is a reason I enjoyed reading this book, it was because of its incredible amount of information. With such an abundance of relatives, Awid has many stories to tell, and he does this in great detail. The world of the Lebanese community in Canada was completely unknown to me, but thanks to Walk With Me, My Son, I could fill the gap. I hope that other readers will do the same. This book is precious both for the family history it tells (with particular emphasis on Awid's father and some brothers and sisters) and the memory of the Lebanese community that it preserves for posterity. Walk With Me, My Son contains a small universe that I absolutely invite the curious reader to explore.

Dr. Jordan Alexander

The stories told by Richard Asmet Awid in Walk With Me, My Son are warm, genuine, entertaining - and most of all - personal. You feel like you could be hearing the stories while sitting in your grandparents’ front room, playing cards and sipping strong Turkish coffee. Richard is the son of Ehmid Alley Awid Amerey (Ahmed Awid), who left his homeland, a small village of Lala, Lebanon, in 1901. He, like many immigrants, fled conflict, conscription, and searched for a better life across the Atlantic. You and I Have Some Stories to Tell includes recollections ranging in topics from poor travel planning that landed the elder Awid (his Pop) in London England, rather than London, Ontario, to the wider socio-historical episodes of the Lebanese community with social and religious drivers for building the first mosque in Canada. The author collects stories to share from both his father's and his own point of view to take the reader on an epic family journey that covers more than a century. Like many pioneers, Richard Asmet Awid’s family formed the backbone of what would become the country of Canada with multi-cultural layers, including Lebanese migrants. The author’s mother Mary, also an immigrant originating in Poland, meets his father working in Brandon, Manitoba at a store he opened. Many fellow Muslim immigrants would travel west to the Canadian prairies. His parents eventually settled in Edmonton, Alberta where the author now lives at 79 years young. Stories of the fourteen siblings, 6 girls, and 8 boys, are peppered throughout this historical family biography.

Walk With Me, My Son contains an important look at early Lebanese settlers in Canada. It depicts a culture that prospered in trade and protected its faith. The business nous of his father included how his store supplied the talented peddlers (traveling salespeople) and how Lebanese trappers excelled in the fur trade alongside indigenous First Nations people. In later years, the teaching profession and peace-making in America at the World Bank show how despite humble beginnings, Ahmed Awid brought with him seeds of possibility and hope. He created with his family and other Lebanese immigrants a new place to call home. From a researcher’s perspective, Richard Awid's stories are important markers for capturing the essence of Lebanese immigration to Canada and the impact this simple and remarkable extended family had in developing the country. A great and important read.

Foluso Falaye

Walk With Me, My Son's thorough look into the lifestyle and culture of a Muslim Canadian who migrated from Lebanon is a remarkable depiction of humanity's constant struggle to survive and make the best of life—which everyone, no matter their culture or religion, can relate to. Richard Asmet Awid narrates both happy and heartbreaking tales about his family that span 135 years. The book starts with Richard's father migrating from the Turkish Ottoman Empire—now known as Lebanon—to Canada at the young age of 19. Canada promised new adventures, financial prospects, and an escape from joining the Turkish military. In Canada, the young migrant went from peddling goods to running several shops and getting married. Consequently, Richard is born and brought up in a Muslim home with several family members and friends whose different stories are included in the book.

We live in a beautiful world with different cultures and practices, and books like Walk With Me, My Son make our world even more impressive as they communicate and preserve people's unique life experiences. Richard Asmet Awid tells it like he was there, narrating the daily activities of his father as he peddles different goods from door to door to make a living. The characters are portrayed with such depth and clarity that I felt close to them and came to love them as they battled cancer, discrimination, and more— like the caring sister, Lila, and Alex, who claimed he learned 27 languages in one day of school. I strongly recommend Walk With Me, My Son to readers who enjoy books rich in culture, history, business strategies, and several compelling stories.

Cassie Widjaja

Walk With Me, My Son by Richard Asmet Awid is a beautiful true story about Lebanese immigrants in Canada. The book begins when 19-year-old Ehmid Alley Awid Amerey comes to London, Ontario, in the wake of the crumbling Ottoman Empire. Searching for safety, adventure, and better economic prospects, he refused to be intimidated by a foreign land and fought tooth and nail for a better life. As one of Ehmid's 14 children, the author has written a historical family biography on the Lebanese diaspora and the Lebanese pioneers in the Canadian prairies. This book also gives a comprehensive history of the Lebanese migration to North America over 135 years.

When I first read Walk With Me, My Son, I was blown away by the rich detail that made the story come alive. Richard Asmet Awid is a natural storyteller, and his stories are not only engaging but easy to understand by people of all ages and backgrounds. I loved how Richard told his family's story, and also included the discrimination against the Arabs and the conflict between Christian and Muslim immigrants. Richard did an incredible job capturing his father's unbreakable determination to fight for a better life. By reading this memoir, I finally understood what true bravery meant as there is no one braver than the man who faced an uncertain future and yet still took the plunge into a foreign land, all for the hope of a better life. For those looking to be inspired, this book's definitely for you!