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Does My Head Look Big In This? Paperback – August 1, 2008
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The novel begins as Amal is watching a Friends rerun and is inspired to wear hijab (the Muslim head scarf) when she sees Jennifer Aniston's carefree character get up and dance in a "hideous bridesmaid outfit" at her ex-boyfriend's wedding. This comical, worldy inspiration sets the stage for Amal's third term rollercoaster ride as an eleventh grader in a private, prestigious "institution" (as the principal Ms. Walsh like to call it).
Having gone to Muslim school up until the year before, Amal's decision to cover in hijab will prove a huge test of faith for her, especially since she spent first and second term at the school appearing normal...except for her long name: "Amal Mohamed Nasrullah Abdel-Hakim". (She says, "You can thank my father, paternal grandfather, and paternal great-grandfather for that one. The teachers labeled me slow in preschool because I was the last child to learn how to spell her name).
As I read, I laughed out loud and shook my head in recognition of how it feels to grow up Muslim in the West, especially as a teenager in school. The book is authentic in its representation of that experience, the ups and downs, the stereotypes, the harassment, and (ah!) the "good souls" that make you smile because they prove that there really are people (however rare they are) who are actually guided by good human sense when dealing with Muslim citizens, instead of CNN headlines on "Islamic" terrorists and the like.Read more ›
At the same time, I did struggle with some ideas in the book. Early on, Abdel-Fattah knocks at feminism, which is rather well deserved in the sense of "hard-core feminists" (her words, not mine) making an issue out of wearing the hajib when choice is involved. Point taken, but this isn't so much a feminist stance as much as western perceptions and xenophobia pertaining specifically to women of eastern cultures or cultural descent. Additionally, she also ensures a knock at atheism. This sort of misrepresentation (or misinterpretation) carries through the book in not identifying social issues as the problem. After all, in a book that deals with the problematic scenarios of misrepresenting and misinterpreting Islam - well, pot kettle black.
Likewise, every page was detailed by a mass consumer mindset of shopping and buying and consuming. I did start to find this problematic and particularly as the book completely fails to escape the female young adult novel entrenched idea of female competition. Because, you know, a young adult novel can't exist without two girls verbally (if not physically) abusing each other.Read more ›
However, Amal's life is changed drastically when she makes a major decision: to wear the hijab, the head scarf worn by Muslim women. This would not be nearly such a big deal were she still at school with all of her friends who are also Muslim and some of whom wear the hijab full-time (meaning: whenever she is around men who are not relatives) as well. However, Amal has recently transferred to a very white-bread prep school, where the environment is completely different.
Amal is subjected to racism and discrimination by kids whose experience with Muslims has largely been confined to what they see in the media. The reactions she faces at home are not all positive, either, but Amal has made a choice. To her, it is a personal, religious decision, to show her devotion to God; it's not about being oppressed as some of her classmates seem to think, or making any sort of statement. Being a Muslim is a part of who Amal is, but in showing that, she faces things a lot worse than any evangelical Christian I know, and that's a sad commentary on our society.
All of that aside, Randa Abdel-Fattah's book is very well-written, and I loved Amal's voice. The characters in this book (particularly Amal) were great.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this book for a reading challenge and found it absolutely delightful. The teenage voice was just sassy and sarcastic enough to be hilarious. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Kara Neal
Actually, her head looks rather microcephalic.
Hasn't this girl read/googled the MISOGYNY in the "ETERNALLY APPLICABLE" & "FLAWLESSLY CORRECT'" Quran 4:3,... Read more
Hilarious, love this! its a really a great story to read for women struggling with learning about hijab and living in the west. Having crushes and family problems. Read morePublished 17 months ago by FRUGALMUSLIMAH
Fun, easy read with a light take on Hijabi issues, but deep enough to make you see the struggle that Hijabis go through. Read morePublished 17 months ago by aneesa
Love it. It is funny and refreshing. Gives great encouragement and focus.Published 19 months ago by Lela Smith
I'm a 30 year old convert to Islam, although I've become completely confident in my Islamic attire... I have 2 daughters who are becoming of age where they must pray, cover etc.. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Christin Edwards
My son (14) read this over the summer, it was on his reading list, he enjoyed it very much. I skimmed through it, thought it was nicely realistic and the author did a great job... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Katelizt