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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sequel please!
The few autobiographies I've read recently have been of the "dreadful childhood/angst-ridden youth/harrowing years of therapy" variety - sometimes worthy, but rarely a fun read. Imran Ahmad's is different. Transplanted from a different continent to a Britain still struggling with issues of religion and race, he is, quite simply, himself. Unpretentious, warm and funny, his...
Published on April 9, 2012 by E. C. S. Weaver

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The perfect gentleman
It was quite an interesting book but not quite what I had expected. Not sure if I would recommend it.
Published 10 months ago by HB


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sequel please!, April 9, 2012
This review is from: The Perfect Gentleman: A Muslim Boy Meets the West (Hardcover)
The few autobiographies I've read recently have been of the "dreadful childhood/angst-ridden youth/harrowing years of therapy" variety - sometimes worthy, but rarely a fun read. Imran Ahmad's is different. Transplanted from a different continent to a Britain still struggling with issues of religion and race, he is, quite simply, himself. Unpretentious, warm and funny, his account of life as the son of middle class parents starting their new lives is endearing and always positive.

His childhood and student days are described frankly and with a remarkable degree of tolerance - something he does not always receive in return. One has to read between the lines to see what life must have been like for a sensitive little boy, trying to be a good child at a time when virtue can seem an old-fashioned notion. His adolescent soul contends with the tension between his earthly desires and his spiritual obligations as we see the young Imran set off for Stirling University in Scotland.

Hoping against hope that he has been placed in a mixed hall of residence so that he may finally encounter the mystery that is woman, he is dismayed to find that he's been assigned to an all-male one, possibly in well-meant deference to his religious views. This doesn't entirely discourage his attempts to meet girls, though, as we soon learn.

I couldn't put this book down. It has done more to convince me of the goals we humans - of all religious persuasion - have in common than many a more academic book; something due almost entirely to the author's generous spirit. In a society where misfortune is always someone else's fault, we watch this young man take hold of his life in the growing knowledge that he, not fate (nor his tutors), is responsible for his success or failure. Many of my questions about Islam have been answered, but in a gentle, good-humoured way. There is no preaching and no antagonism anywhere. This book could change the way you think.

Like others, I read the book over a couple of days - and can't wait for the sequel.

Finally, I have to mention the cover; it's almost worth buying the book just for that. You have to read the book to see why it's so apt.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Quietly Subversive Masterpiece of Militant Moderation, April 2, 2012
This review is from: The Perfect Gentleman: A Muslim Boy Meets the West (Hardcover)
This is a wonderful book - by turns funny, sad and uplifting, but always wise and illuminating. It's superbly written and a deceptively easy read that's guaranteed to open minds and change opinions. Should be read by anyone with an interest in our collective future.

And do catch him live if you can - he's terrific. However, if you can't, I'm sure TED will grab him for a slot. It's only a matter of time.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compassionate and humane, April 2, 2012
This review is from: The Perfect Gentleman: A Muslim Boy Meets the West (Hardcover)
This is a terrific tale told by a superb storyteller. From the outrage of the James Bond competition onwards it is a joy, full of wit, dry observation, compassion and humanity - a book about mixed cultures that, for once, generates light rather than heat.

If you get a chance, see Imran Ahmad speak then do - the very worst that will happen is that you will be thoroughly entertained: and you might just see Islam through different eyes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read the WHOLE book before you review it!, April 29, 2012
By 
J. Danielson "jd11757" (austin, texas United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Perfect Gentleman: A Muslim Boy Meets the West (Hardcover)
Initially, this author got on my nerves. I was so irritated, I fired off a review before I finished it. To anyone who has read the whole thing, I sounded like a jackass. Fortunately, it's a quick read, so I can amend my error.It is charming, interesting, humane and funny.If everyone in the world was this wise,we'd all be a lot better off.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, yet compelling, April 4, 2012
This review is from: The Perfect Gentleman: A Muslim Boy Meets the West (Hardcover)
The writing is direct and compellingly honest in this unusual autobiography. The author comes across as likeable and humorous, yet doesn't shy away from discussing his obsessions--both material (cars, status, etc.) and philosophical (Islamic vs. Christian theology). Incidentally, I think I learned more about Islam in reading this book than any other.

Religious, materialistic, socially and politically conservative--I never thought a writer with these traits would appeal to me. But I highly recommend this title to anyone seeking a refreshingly honest portrayal of growing up a minority in late 20th-century Britain.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, April 4, 2012
This review is from: The Perfect Gentleman: A Muslim Boy Meets the West (Hardcover)
"The best book I've read for ages, Easy to read, funny and poignant it also helped me understand Islam, it should be on the school curriculum."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Endearing, enlightening, April 3, 2012
This review is from: The Perfect Gentleman: A Muslim Boy Meets the West (Hardcover)
I loved the author's courageous honesty about his experiences growing up as a Muslim Pakistani in 1960s and 70s England, having moved here with his parents when he was aged one.

This book is about a search for religious and cultural identity and belonging, and about the awkward discovery of sexuality and relationship, set against a bewildering and conflicting mixture of both Islamic and British customs. The shocking racism is described with unsentimental irony and dignity. This book throws light on Islam, prejudice and racism; an important education at any time but especially in today's political climate.

I particularly enjoyed the honest, non-fictional, witty and endearing story of the author's struggle to belong whilst trying to carve out his own path in life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poignant and thought provoking a roller-coaster ride of emotional consciousness., March 28, 2012
This review is from: The Perfect Gentleman: A Muslim Boy Meets the West (Hardcover)
This memoir had me laughing from the first chapter. Imran really pours his heart out in this book and it is easy to tell he is completely sincere. In The Perfect Gentleman Imran shares a little bit about each year of his life, from his birth up until his late teens, skipping through later adulthood at faster pace. It easy for the reader to immerse themselves into this story and follow Imran along as he attends school and later college in London.

At times it was sad to read about the bullying and racial discrimination Imran and his family endured while living in London. Although Imran did not grow up in Pakistan, he and his family went back regularly throughout his early life to visit his extended family still living there. During these moments in the book one gets suggestive moments of what life in Pakistan may have been like. Life for Imran is mostly in London although he does speak about a few short trips to the America as a child.

I went through many emotions while reading this book especially when Imran hit his later teens and he became more set in his ways. I found this memoir very compelling, at times informative other times irritating, yet overall thoughtful and surprising. In the end the little boy who started the conversation turned into a wise and wonderful man who left me enlightened along the way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Balances nicely his sense of humour about growing up in the ..., July 4, 2014
This review is from: The Perfect Gentleman: A Muslim Boy Meets the West (Hardcover)
Told in a charming fashion that has you on the author's side all the way through particularly with the petrol cap incident. Bastard! Balances nicely his sense of humour about growing up in the UK with some food for thought over religious and moral choices. Sequel please.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!, June 1, 2014
Imran Ahmad grew up wanting what we all want--friends, a good career, love, and an understanding of the universe. He writes with humor, compassion and honesty. This is a great read.
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The Perfect Gentleman: A Muslim Boy Meets the West
The Perfect Gentleman: A Muslim Boy Meets the West by Imran Ahmad (Hardcover - April 3, 2012)
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