Friday, January 29, 2010

Does My Head Look Big in This?

Sixteen-year-old Amal makes the decision to start wearing the hijab full- time and everyone has a reaction. Her parents, her teachers, her friends, people on the street. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else.
Putting on the hijab isn't the end of the journey.  It's just the beginning of it.  p.333
This was a great exploration of one girl choosing to show her beliefs to the world and the consequences that come with those big decisions.  Amal is cool and cocky and definitely 16.  She has a typical relationship with her parents and has some great friendships at school.  She attends a prep school in Australia so when she first decides to wear the hijab she doesn't know how it will go over there.  But she works through that obstacle and a few others.

The novel is in first person and that sometimes threw the tone off for me.  Some books I don't notice it, but I was always aware of it for this book.  It made some of the conversations stilted for me.  But it was nice to be in Amal's head and see how she viewed others.  Sometimes she was paranoid that strangers were judging her and sometimes she was right and sometimes not.  There were many interesting parallels drawn to her situation and that of her overweight friend and to the Greek next door neighbor and to her Japanese friend and to some of her extended family who pretend not to be Muslim.  There was a great message of tolerance and remaining true to your beliefs and yourself.  And I learned a little about Islam and a lot about what the hijab means.

cross posted with Annie, I think

ETA: corrected


  1. Hm. I read a similar review from one of our 5-Squared members before I started The Zen Leaf. Interesting concept, maybe not as well executed as they'd have liked. I worry about that and so have been dithering about this book (and her other) for awhile. I will probably eventually read them, but lukewarm reviews keep me from doing it faster.

  2. I didn't know she had another. I might try that one as well.
    It was a great concept and the message comes across nicely. It just gets stilted and too messagey in places, but it was worth reading.

  3. this looks like a really interesting book :) Great review :)

  4. This is really interesting--so much of the time people focus on why NOT to wear the hijab.

  5. I liked this book, but my fave of hers is "ten things i hate about me" - which was just hilarious :)

    Also, that cover is so weird and different from my cover in Australia...


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