The book was published on May 20, 2011. Visit my main website for the latest news and information!

      Praise for Fast Times in Palestine

“Olson seamlessly weaves her own personal journey with history, politics, and even a love story. The result is a moving, inspiring account of life in Palestine that’s enormously informative yet reads like a novel!”

“As an Israeli whose life was shaped by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I found Fast Times in Palestine moving and refreshing. Pamela Olson comes to the Middle East with a blank slate and is therefore able to hold up an undistorted mirror to the reality she encounters. Her approach is fresh and unprejudiced, and that makes her book unique.”

“Pamela Olson leads the reader on an exciting, funny, at times heart-wrenching journey, carefully deciphering complex political and historical issues. Olson is a talented writer, intelligent and exceptional in her ability to convey both tragedy and hope, remaining morally grounded and refreshingly honest.”

“In a field overcrowded with arcane academic texts and strident polemics, Pamela Olson has broken through with a refreshing read that packs gritty journalism into a fast-paced, intimate personal narrative. Fast Times in Palestine is info-tainment at its best, offering audiences of all ages an accessible and uniquely human portrayal of a people struggling for dignity in the face of occupation and apartheid.”

“Maybe he’s just not that into you. Or maybe the reason he hasn’t arrived for your date is because he’s tied to a chair being interrogated for no reason other than that teenage Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint didn’t like the way he looked at them. It’s love in the time of Occupation as Pamela Olson, a young American woman, takes us on the emotional roller-coaster of her very personal experience of life in Ramallah — and in doing so lays bare the human drama of a people living under the control of a state that denies them the rights of citizens. A charming book brimming with tension and tragedy, but also with the humor, warmth, everyday foibles and irrepressible hopes of a people determined to live free.”

    ~ Tony Karon, Senior Editor, TIME

“Olson’s masterful storytelling, imagery, and wit take the reader on a transformative journey through Palestine.”

Fast Times in Palestine is part adventure story, part searing reportage, part love story, and wholly absorbing. It is written with infectious humor, dazzling verve, keen insight, and deep passion. If you want to know what everyday life is like for the Palestinian people, go to Palestine; if you can’t, read this book.”

    ~ Dr. Kenneth Ring, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of Connecticut, and co-author of Letters from Palestine

“Olson does not merely report on the world of others; she steps into their shoes and sees the world through their eyes. Fast Times in Palestine is a heroic and touching journey to self-awareness that will awaken the reader to a more humane perspective on the Arab world in the midst of the horrors and humiliations of a brutal occupation.”

Fast Times in Palestine will open your eyes to the human story inside the political drama. Mixing humor, memoir, political intrigue, romance, and sociological commentary, Olson’s heartfelt work will change how you understand the Middle East.”

    ~ Patricia Ryan Madson, Professor Emerita of Stanford University and author of Improv Wisdom

“Pamela Olson operates in a great tradition of American explorers, from Martha Gellhorn to Susan Meiselas to Rachel Corrie — open-minded women who have thrown off a lot of tired received wisdom about a fearful part of the world in order to see it for themselves, then brought that understanding back to their own culture. This book is a triumph of sympathy and observation.”

    ~ Philip Weiss, Editor of Mondoweiss and author of American Taboo: A Murder in the Peace Corps

Review by the Wylie Agency (one of the top literary agencies in the world)

FAST TIMES IN PALESTINE is an extremely powerful, deeply moving, and potentially far-reaching book that fills what is truly an unacceptable gap in popular understanding of the Israel/Palestine situation (and the Arab world in general) by giving a face to the Palestinians, so often demonized or ignored by Western press, experts, and laypeople alike. It is also a pleasure to read.

Olson is a sympathetic and relatable narrator who, like many readers, has very little knowledge of the Middle East beyond news blurbs and stereotypes before she travels there herself. She skillfully guides readers through her travels and encounters, gradually building on our knowledge of the region so that, by the later parts of the book, she is tackling complex political and historical issues in a way that is accessible to all…

The book also succeeds as a tender and fascinating portrait of a culture about which generally very little is known (and much is misunderstood) in the Western world. Discussions of cuisine, garb, architecture, daily prayer, holidays and festivals, family structure, relationships, leisure activities, women’s rights, and the Koran are seamlessly woven into Pamela’s well-crafted personal narrative. Her account is rife with intimate and evocative descriptions of the places she visits and memorable portraits of the people she meets along the way.

Olson’s account is at once funny, gorgeous, shocking, and (I think) galvanizing. Her story manages to be heartbreaking and yet believably hopeful at the same time. I strongly feel that this is an intelligent, important piece of work that is sure to generate dialogue and elicit impassioned responses from any and all sides (and probably change quite a few minds as well).