Cover image for The middle of everywhere : the world's refugees come to our town
The middle of everywhere : the world's refugees come to our town
Pipher, Mary Bray.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Harcourt, 2002.
Physical Description:
xxv, 390 pages ; 24 cm
Cultural collisions on the Great Plains -- The beautiful laughing sisters-an arrival story -- Into the heart of the heartland -- All that glitters... -- Children of hope, children of tears -- Adolescents-Mohammed meets Madonna -- Young adults--"Who arranges marriages for us in Nebraska?" -- Family-a bundle of sticks cannot be broken -- African stories -- Healing in all times and places -- Home-a global positioning system for identity -- Building a village of kindness.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
JV6601 .P56 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
JV6601 .P56 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
JV6601 .P56 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Over the past decade, Mary Pipher has helped us understand our family members. Reviving Ophelia did for our teenage daughters what Another Country did for our aging parents. Now, Pipher connects us with our greater family--the human family.
In cities and towns all over the country, refugees arrive daily. Lost Boys from Sudan, survivors from Kosovo, families fleeing Afghanistan and Vietnam: they come with nothing but the desire to experience the American dream. Their endurance in the face of tragedy and their ability to hold on to the essential virtues of family, love, and joy are a tonic for Americans who are now facing crises at home. Their stories will make you laugh and weep--and give you a deeper understanding of the wider world in which we live.
The Middle of Everywhere moves beyond the headlines, into the hearts and homes of refugees from around the world. Her stories bring to us the complexity of cultures we must come to understand in these times.

Harcourt is donating a portion of the proceeds from this book to the Pipher Refugee Relief Fund of the Lincoln Action Project.

Author Notes

Mary Pipher is the author of three bestselling books, including Reviving Ophelia , which was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than two years. She received a presidential citation from the American Psychological Association, and is considered one of the great wise women of modern psychology. She lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

"I saw my father and grandfather shot in our living room," says Anton, a Bosnian teen who now lives in Nebraska. His teachers see him as a potential suicide, and he struggles to make sense of being an American high school student. Profiling Anton and other refugees from around the world Russia, Croatia, Yemen, Hungary, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone bestselling author Pipher (Reviving Ophelia), drawing upon anthropology, sociology and psychology, offers a deft, moving portrait of the complexity of American life. Pipher, a family therapist in Lincoln, Neb., where these immigrants all live, is interested in the effects of globalization how it affects people's relationships, their sense of place, their identities. She writes in rich, empathetic language and with a keen, observant eye for detail and nuance. Her relationships with her subjects range widely: she is a surrogate parent to a family of four children orphaned during the Sudanese civil war; to others she is "cultural broker," for instance, helping an Iraqi family understand the difference between what they see on television and the realities of everyday American life. As in Another Country, her book about aging parents, Pipher writes directly and movingly about the complications of people's lives in a constant culture clash but is mindful to place them in a clearly defined social and political setting. Noting that after September 11, "we are all refugees from what was once our America," Pipher's ambitious undertaking of combining personal stories with global politics is wonderfully realized. (Apr.) Forecast: Given Pipher's record and the increased attention by Americans to foreigners in our midst, this should sell handsomely. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

Psychologist Pipher explores the changing face of the U.S. as immigrants fan out from the coasts and inhabit more and more of the American heartland, changing the culture. From the all-American terrain of the Midwest, specifically her hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, Pipher examines the impact of the dispersal of refugees. She describes the adjustment of young women from the Middle East, clinging to family traditions but longing for the alluring freedom of American culture; parents working long hours at unrewarding work to provide the trinkets demanded by their Americanized children; and parent-child relationships turned upside down as parents heavily rely on children to translate for them. Pipher visits the cultural hodgepodge of public-school classrooms that blend different native languages and traditions as teachers search for common ground from which to teach. She outlines the basics needed by refugees from global conflicts in adjusting to life in a vastly more complex nation and how Americans need to adjust as refugees change the definition of what it means to be American. Vanessa Bush.

Library Journal Review

Pipher here does for refugees what she did for our perception of teenage girls in Reviving Ophelia. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-A psychologist turns her descriptive and analytic lens on her hometown of Lincoln, NE, and its recent experiences with war-scarred immigrants from Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Much of Pipher's work and personal interactions with Bosnians, Kurds, Dinkas, Vietnamese, and others have been with people on the cusp of adolescence through young adulthood, an appealing range for their peers to read about here. The author recounts experiences in English Language Learner classrooms, with individuals referred to her for psychotherapy, and with refugees whom she and her husband have befriended so as to serve as "cultural brokers" in a strange new land requiring a winter wardrobe, regular school attendance, and job-interview skills. Pipher emphasizes the culturally specific norms she carries with her and deconstructs how these and the norms of the young people who have come from war zones in Sudan, after flight from Iraq, and years of exile in Germany and other circumstances offer everyone involved the opportunity to grow as human beings and become more fully engaged in the experiences of others. Student researchers, nascent psychologists, and native- and nonnative-born teens will find this is absorbing discussion material.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



MIDDLE OF EVERYWHEREThe World's Refugees Come to Our TownMary PipherCHAPTER 1CULTURAL COLLISIONS on the GREAT PLAINSI AM FROMI am from Avis and Frank, Agnes and Fred, Glessie May and Mark.From the Ozark Mountains and the high plains of Eastern Colorado,From mountain snowmelt and lazy southern creeks filled with water moccasins.I am from oatmeal eaters, gizzard eaters, haggis and raccoon eaters.I'm from craziness, darkness, sensuality, and humor.From intense do-gooders struggling through ranch winters in the 1920s.I'm from "If you can't say anything nice about someone don't say anything" and "Pretty is as pretty does" and "Shit-mucklety brown" and "Damn it all to hell."I'm from no-dancing-or-drinking Methodists, but cards were okay except on Sunday, and from tent-meeting Holy Rollers,From farmers, soldiers, bootleggers, and teachers.I'm from Schwinn girl's bike, 1950 Mercury two-door, and West Side Story.I'm from coyotes, baby field mice, chlorinous swimming pools,Milky Way and harvest moon over Nebraska cornfields.I'm from muddy Platte and Republican,from cottonwood and mulberry, tumbleweed and switchgrassfrom Willa Cather, Walt Whitman, and Janis Joplin,My own sweet dance unfolding against a cast of women in aprons and barefoot men in overalls.As a girl in Beaver City, I played the globe game. Sitting outside in the thick yellow weeds, or at the kitchen table while my father made bean soup, I would shut my eyes, put my finger on the globe, and spin it. Then I would open my eyes and imagine what it was like in whatever spot my finger was touching. What were the streets like, the sounds, the colors, the smells? What were the people doing there right now?I felt isolated in Beaver City, far away from any real action. We were a small town of white Protestants surrounded by cow pastures and wheat fields. I had no contact with people who were different from me. Native Americans had a rich legacy in Nebraska, but I knew nothing of them, not even the names of the tribes who lived in my area. I had never seen a black person or a Latino. Until I read The Diary of Anne Frank, I had never heard of Jewish people.Adults talked mostly about crops, pie, and rainfall. I couldn't wait to grow up and move someplace exotic and faraway, and living where I did, every place appeared faraway and exotic. When I read Tolstoy's book on the little pilgrim who walked all over the world, I vowed to become that pilgrim and to spend my life seeing everything and talking to everyone.As a young adult, I escaped for a while. I lived in San Francisco, Mexico, London, and Madrid. But much to my surprise, I missed the wheat fields, the thunderstorms, and the meadowlarks. I returned to Nebraska in my mid-twenties, married, raised a family, worked as a psychologist, and ate a lot of pie. I've been happy in Nebraska, but until recently I thought I had to choose between loving a particular rural place and experiencing all the beautiful diversity of the worl Excerpted from The Middle of Everywhere: The World's Refugees Come to Our Town by Mary Pipher All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Foreword xiii
Prelude: Ellis Island xxi
Part 1 Hidden in Plain Sight
Chapter 1 Cultural Collisions on the Great Plains 3
Chapter 2 The Beautiful Laughing Sisters-An Arrival Story 24
Chapter 3 Into the Heart of the Heartland 64
Chapter 4 All that Glitters... 83
part 2 Refugees across the Life Cycle
Chapter 5 Children of Hope, Children of Tears 113
Chapter 6 Teenagers-Mohammed Meets Madonna 161
Chapter 7 Young Adults-"Is There a Marriage Broker in Lincoln?" 196
Chapter 8 Family-"A Bundle of Sticks Cannot Be Broken" 216
part 3 The Alchemy of Healing-Turning Pain into Meaning
Chapter 9 African Stories 247
Chapter 10 Healing in all Times and Places 275
Chapter 11 Home-A Global Positioning System for Identity 305
Chapter 12 Building a Village of Kindness 325
Coda: We're All Here Now 351
Appendix 1 Working with People for Whom English Is a New Language 355
2 Becoming a Cultural Broker 358
3 Universal Declaration of Human Rights 359
Bibliography 369
Acknowledgments 373
Index 375