cover image I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Beyond the Lines of Jihad

I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Beyond the Lines of Jihad

Souad Mekhennet, read by Kirsten Potter. Tantor Audio, unabridged, 10 CDs, 12 hrs., $44.99 ISBN 978-1-5414-0733-6

Actor Potter stands in for but doesn’t adequately capture the voice of the author in reading the audio edition of Mekhennet’s memoir. As a journalist, Mekhennet first shot to fame in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, when her talent, drive, and Muslim identity granted her unprecedented access to terrorist cells and war zones throughout the world. Raised in Germany by immigrant parents from Morocco and Turkey, Mekhennet’s unusually cosmopolitan background helped her to see multiple sides of the stories she has covered for Western outlets like the New York Times, the Washington Post, and NPR. Potter doesn’t quite have those cosmopolitan chops, however. As a narrator she is competent, but she sounds thoroughly American here, and is therefore not quite believable as a globe-trotting German reporter. If the listener can get past that miscasting, though, other advantages of Potter’s narration, like her emotional sensitivity, become evident. She also captures Mekhennet’s unexpected moments of humor in an otherwise serious book, like when she recovers her confiscated Kindle after being interrogated in Egypt and discovers that her captors apparently read to the end of a self-help book for single women. Still, the difference between the author’s background and the narrator’s is apparent throughout. A Holt hardcover. (June)