Little Tin Heart, A Memoir, is about my coming of age in an often clashing three-culture family: my Arab father's Basra, Iraq, where I was born; my mother's southern (eligible for Daughters of the Confederacy as well as the DAR) Neosho, Missouri; and my Montclair, New Jersey, the suburb of New York, where I grew up and worked so hard to belong.

Why did my parents elope after knowing each other only three days, and why did their elopement make the national papers? Why did my mother keep me at arm's length and my father become so "strict"? Was their parenting based on culture, gender, or craziness? Why would I fantasize such a thing as a world passport but felt I belonged nowhere? When my mother started drinking, what secret was she trying to drown? As unsuccessful as I was in trying to save her, how did I discover the truth of her secret? How did my experiences affect my concept of God and search for meaning in life?