Honestly, I hated this book at the beginning. I think it had
something a lot to do with her ‘I AM AMERICAN’* and ‘I’m very Americanized today’ voice. I could be deadly wrong to some of you who’ve read this (also, I read this many, many months ago, so I’m the idiot here, perhaps, yes), but at least that’s what I could recall now.
While reading this, it took me back a little to the book ‘Because They Hate’ by Brigitte Gabriel (read in 2017). But it’s not that relevant here. Just thought I’d throw that book in as it was a really good read.
Back to the author and her memoir – I must state, she is one hell of a lucky human, having met and stayed with her arranged-marriage-husband through thick and thin. Note that both of them come from privileged backgrounds/families (not that there’s anything wrong with that), which is unlike other reads of the same geographical worlds I’ve read in the past.
They’re lucky – no spouse-beatings (no traces of domestic violence in the book, at least), no secret lovers prior to their arranged marriages, decent family backgrounds (no troubled relatives to worry about e.g. relatives jailed for political ‘crimes’), no ‘cover-yourself-you-Muslim-woman’ directives from her husband and family… You get the idea (I’m sorry if you don’t).
But what the book did manage to chronicle which I learned something from (finally, something) – is the kindness shown to them by fellow immigrants of different faiths while they moved to American in the 70s (could be 80s, I forget), and during and after 9/11.
little to insignificant zero traces of intolerance in between those decades and pages, which seemed a little… nevermind. Perhaps the author did have a wonderful, perfect experience living as a Muslim in New York City then (and now). After all, NYC is known to be a city that’s culturally diversified and tolerant. So there’s that.
Did I mention that both the author and her husband are medical professionals? Not the rags to riches kind, if you catch my drift. Do refer to paragraph three again if you need to.
Lastly, I mentioned not really liking this book at the beginning – so did I get into it and eventually found some joy if not solace while reading and upon finishing it? The answer is no. I didn’t. I didn’t like the book, generally speaking. But I did enjoy the little anecdotes of her life growing up in Pakistan, and the kindness they were shown while settling down and rising up in the Land of the Free. That’s about it.
(The book does live up to its tagline, though: One Woman’s Journey from Pakistani Muslim to American Muslim. But after reading it – I think it’s better-off as ‘One Woman’s Journey from Pakistan to America and Life as an Americanized Muslim’)
*There’s nothing wrong about stressing your nationality in whatever way you want. I capitalized this word to stress the weight she’d given to her American life and citizenship far far away from Pakistan. That is all. You really don’t need to decipher any further.