Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Becoming Paperback – May 1, 2017
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
By Senior Reviewer, D. Donovan; Midwest Book Review;
Nyla and Junaid are classmates attending a small school in the mountains of Pakistan in the 1990s. Their friendship, which evolves into love, and their coming of age is one story; but the real heart of the evolutionary process documented in Becoming lies in its wider-reaching story of how young people in a different culture share experiences common to the rest of the world's emerging young adults.
From kindly matron teachers and their educational challenges in reaching very different students to how the golden rule is imparted to struggling kids barely passing not only in class but in their relationships to the world around them, Becoming charts individual courses that intersect, collide, merge, or are changed by circumstance and psychology.
The first difference to note in this coming-of-age romance is the strength of the female character, Nyla, who at times fights both her own heart and cultural traditions. Unlike the characters of many women who become helpless in the face of love and its circumstances, Nyla is an empowered, complete individual in her own right, seeking more from life than love and commitment.
Junaid's love for this independent, feisty young woman may defy some of his own cultural traditions, but he too has spunk and determination; and when they confront an emotionally unstable but creative young peer who views their blossoming relationship as a negative force in his life, the three find themselves entwined in a complicated series of encounters that test not only their experiences, but their different backgrounds.
The world of Pakistan's hill country comes to life as the story evolves. All three characters grow and change from their encounters, and readers are treated to in-depth realizations woven into a story line which comes from different viewpoints.
This brings us to the second notable difference in this coming of age romance: the author's ability to create full-faceted characters from the intersection of different personalities from peers to adults: "As she passed back the graded essays to the students before the closing bell, she said she would ask for the two best essays to be read aloud by the respective authors. It amazed her to see a glint of hope in the eyes of Junaid, and she looked away wondering what he imagined was the worth of his miserable effort."
From differences between friendship and love and the process of growing one from the other to handling peer jealousies, attractions, and interactions gone awry, the psychology is deftly and nicely done, fully exploring different characters' feelings and their sources: "He did feel left out and more than a little jealous that another man, a good-looking man, knew Nyla well enough to keep her occupied with interesting memories. Nor was it lost on him that he himself had been introduced as her "friend" and not her boyfriend."
The result is a lovely story recommended for mature teens and new adult audiences alike; especially those who want their characters complex, their cultural and social encounters well-developed, and their evolving love to include the influence and realistic angst of peers and adults alike.
Readers of coming of age stories set in other countries will relish the struggles of Nyla, Junaid, and others who strive to evolve in many ways, and will find Becoming a lovely read packed with atmosphere, depth, and detail.
From the Author
Author Interview: Fouad Azim
Author: Fouad Azim
Publisher: Page Publishing
Genre: Historical Fiction
Interviewed by: Ella Vincent
Read Author Interview
Buy on Amazon
Author Question with Fouad AzimToday we are talking with Fouad Azim author of "Becoming."
PBR: What inspired you to write Becoming?
I wanted to write of children growing up and coming of age, the challenges and hurdles they must face and overcome as they become young adults. I wanted to show that these rites of passage are universal across geographic and indeed in many ways across cultural boundaries and that this is becoming even more true in a world that is increasingly more connected and therefore ever more relevant if we are to understand each other.
I also wanted to share part of the beautiful land and people of Pakistan with the world. Too little is known of this part of the world by those living in the West except what makes the news and that is unfortunately more often than not too negative.
PBR: Who are some of your favorite authors that inspired your writing?
I think that everyone is affected to some extent by all that one has read and that has a significant role in ultimately determining one's own style and sometimes inspires and conspires for him or her to undertake the task.
However, for me the most important authors relevant to this novel would be the historic fiction of James Michener, the deceptively simple writing of the masterful Ernest Hemingway and perhaps a subconscious desire to do for my own land what the gifted Khaled Hosseini did for Afghanistan in his unforgettable "The Kite Runner".
PBR: You described the beauty and nature of Pakistan so well in the novel. What do you want readers to know about Pakistan that they might not know?
Pakistan is a blessed land in many ways. Geographically it is situated between Iran to the west, Afghanistan to the northwest, China to the north and India to the east.
In the south it extends to the rich waters of the Arabian Sea and in the north, the towering Korakoram mountain range that is the northwestern extension of the Himalayas caps its rugged North West Frontier.
From the desolate deserts of Balochistan, the lush arable fields of Punjab, some of the highest mountains and peaks in the world of the North West Frontier Province and the densely populated cities of Sindh bordering the Arabian Sea in the south, Pakistan enjoys a variety of terrain and climates.
PBR: The relationship of Nyla and Junaid is so special, especially when they look at the stars. Is there any special symbolism about stars in the novel?
When we look up at the heavens, we instantly look back in time, thousands and even millions of years back in time; that is how long it took the light from those stars and galaxies to reach us. It makes us realize our very fleeting moments of existence in the timelessness of the limitless Universe. For two souls to come together and be joined with each other in love, for the infinitesimally short period of time, a span of a few years, is very precious.
For Nyla and Junaid, the starry skies not only magnify their special feelings for each other, in this story, they are also the means of their coming to realize and appreciate their heretofore undisclosed love for each other.
PBR: What do you want readers to learn from Becoming?
That the struggle to try to become the best of our ability is the journey and its end. We all find ourselves in different stages of this endeavor in our own lives and how we respond to what has come to be our lot determines the life we live and the way it affects others around us. That the best and most fortunate among us are those who come to sacrifice their own selves for the good of others and in doing so they find that they have achieved their own peace and happiness. That a Higher Being, a Higher Power seems to guide and empower their best intentions and actions.
Also, that we are all just one people with the same hopes and dreams, fears and heartaches, the same desires and the same emotions that just happen to live in different parts of this one beautiful planet that we call home.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.