Book Title: Does My Head Look Big In This?
Author: Randa Abdel-Fattah
Themes: Diversity, Muslim, Feminist,
Goodreads Link: Click here
Star Rating: – Really liked this book!
What a great start to my new blog series Resist! I’m actually reading a couple of books from my list at the moment, but some of them are soooo long! I was so eager to start posting on the new series, so I picked this up because it promised to be a quick and easy.
This is a light, YA book about a young Muslim-Australian woman and her experiences during her first year wearing the hijab full-time. It is important when reading this book to remember the audience this book is for, primarily young people. I think it is intended to be an easy introduction to the life of a young Muslim woman without getting too far involved in complicated explanations. This makes it deceptively simple, because ultimately, what it has to say is not incomplex. It reminds me of a quote by the esteemed author of Howard’s End.
“Only Connect…” – E.M. Forster
Two words. Two words to convey the overarching principle of our need to connect, to REALLY connect with the people around us. In Howard’s End, the main characters all, to varying degrees, learn to connect with each other. Those that cannot bring themselves to connect suffer terrible consequences, and then in turn, mete those out on the people around them. It is an astonishing book and a wonderful movie (check it out if you can!).
Ms. Abdel-Fattah’s book carries that same theme, albeit in a safer, softer, funnier way. The main character, is still a little bit of a bratty teenager, but in her year of the hijab is able to begin to connect with herself, her faith and others around her. She is growing up. Growing in understanding, empathy and humility through her experiences. She learns compassion through time spent with an disgruntled, older, Greek, Christian neighbor. She learns about how our insecurities can color the world around us through the eyes of a plus-size classmate. Learns patience and empathy in dealing with her best friend’s mother, a more traditional Muslim woman unable to understand her daughters need for independence.
This ability to understand each other is vital now, today. Lack of the ability to connect with one another leads to giant walls being built. To the demonization of whole groups of people. To not being able to empathize with how a child would feel being separated from it’s mother merely because she was not born on the right side of an invisible line in the sand. Lack of empathy can cause a person to believe that the tax cut they get every year is somehow worth more than making sure that your neighbor can afford the medicine they need to continue to live. We have to do better than that. We have to understand … we have to connect … and to resist those who tell us otherwise.
Song for this book: Team – Lorde