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The Perfect Gentleman: A Muslim Boy Meets the West Hardcover – April 3, 2012
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If you read nothing else this year, discover this book.―New York Journal of Books
"...irresistible-- a charming, laugh-out-loud-funny memoir of a Pakistani Muslim boy growing up in the western world. Full of suprises, hard to put down."―John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
"...beautifully written, funny and endearing, and in its own quiet way, important."―Sue Townsend, author of the Adrian Mole books
"I could not put the book down. I laughed at Imran's memories of his childhood. I marveled at his ability to look at his stumbles with such fearless honesty and I shared his gentle, wry irritation at the unfairness of the world.
The greatness of this book is easy to understand. Read it and you will come to know Imran Ahmad as though you have spent a lifetime growing up with him. You will warm to his wonderfully self-deprecating humor and, almost incidentally, you will learn a lot about yourself and a vast amount about the complex multicultural confusion of growing up as an immigrant Pakistani Muslim in England. This is a wise and witty book about the new cultural reality of globalization."―Bruce Elder, Sydney Morning Herald
'Hurrah for a memoir that isn't miserable! Hurray for Imran Ahmad's terrific sense of humor ... an entertaining, moving and thoroughly thought-provoking tale of our times.' ―The Daily Mail
'A compelling quest for belonging ...' ―Guardian
"... very clearly and vividly written, it's funny and perceptive about schools and neighbors and friends and girls and especially about the narrator himself, with his continuing puzzlement about religion, his smartly pressed clothes, and his apparently naïve fixation with cars."―Philip Pullman, author of The Golden Compass series
"... humour makes a powerful tool when socially relevant ... successful in striking that balance, by presenting a thought-provoking debate even as it makes you laugh out loud."―The Hindu
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well narrated experience of life as an immigrant child in the UK. The book seems to have lost its way towards the end and felt as if the author was in a hurry to finish.Published 12 months ago by Love to Read
What I've read so far is interesting. The author gets his point across with a great sense of humor.Published 13 months ago by Mary K.
Told in a charming fashion that has you on the author's side all the way through particularly with the petrol cap incident. Bastard! Read morePublished on July 4, 2014 by Annemarie
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. Read morePublished on June 1, 2014 by kwaples
I enjoyed this book a lot. It's been a while since I read it and yet I can still recall many of the things that happened in the book (not always true for me anymore with many books... Read morePublished on March 16, 2014 by Laurel
A sense of humor helps us to get through the evils of racism. This is a compelling yet funny story. I highly recommend this book. Read morePublished on November 7, 2013 by Barbara Buxton
It was quite an interesting book but not quite what I had expected. Not sure if I would recommend it.Published on November 4, 2013 by HB
My friends and I chose this for our book club. I enjoyed the writing style and the insight. As a non-Christian in the Western world I can identify with some of the treatments and... Read morePublished on May 29, 2013 by ltd0713
Imran Ahmad is, by all self-reported appearances, an eminently decent chap. It's hard to imagine a decenter chap, really (he is, quite possibly, THE perfect gentleman). Read morePublished on March 20, 2013 by Librum