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What We Learned Along the Way Paperback – February 11, 2011

3.7 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Nadirah Angail is a Kansas City native that has been writing for as long as she can remember. She loves to create stories that feel real, as if the characters are people she's known all her life. Born and raised in the religion of Islam, she's too familiar with the struggle of being authentic in a world that sees her as "other." Though her stories are works of fiction, she sometimes channels her experiences into her characters. She has 2 children that drive her crazy and a husband that restores her sanity.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1456598449
  • ISBN-13: 978-1456598440
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,478,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
WOW! When I purchased this book, my expectations were low...simply because the book was so inexpensive. I just naturally assumed that it was "bargain-basement" priced because the book was in low demand, probably due to general mediocrity. However, having a penchant for gaining knowledge of the lifestyles of all the varied ethnicities and cultures of our diverse world, I, nonetheless, opted to buy the book.


Nadirah Angail is an extremely talented author! This book was exquisitely crafted...The characterizations were strong and realistic (each character had good and not-so-good traits...making them seem like actual human beings), the story was told in a concise manner (no flowery, non-essential minutiae in this read...every page cracked with details vital to story), and Ms. Angail seems to have the ability to pace her writing in a manner that totally engages the reader in the outcome of each subplot as it unfolds. This tale was about life--the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly--but every page rang with AUTHENTICITY!

Only one complaint: Domestic violence issue needed to be resolved before the book ended...Unfair to leave your readers hanging in a nebulous cloud regarding this situation! We are concerned and invested in Kalimah's well being!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this on a long plane journey and was disappointed with the story line and writing. The only reason I gave it one star is because the characters do have their distinct personalities, and I could relate to some of the girls. But that's where the positives end. First, there is a lack of physical description in much of the book. The author doesn't describe what the characters look like, and she also doesn't go into detail of the setting at all. As readers we need to have a visual description, it's what makes stories come alive. Second, there are many spelling errors and grammar mistakes in the kindle version. Third, it is not written well. The author often repeats things that the reader can already infer, and she directly writes about how a character is feeling without showing us how they are feeling. It is a more effective writing technique to write about how characters act when they are sad or upset, rather than just saying flat out that they are sad and upset. Finally, I felt like there wasn't enough depth to the characters. I was curious to read more about the girl's interpretation of Islam and how it was like to grow up in that community, but I felt like this was not explored enough. Also, I have to add, I found it really hard to believe that Jaime, the most religious of the bunch would get knocked up by her friend's fiancé. I felt that this was completely out of nowhere and out of character since she was described as very religious and conservative. One minute she's in a restaurant talking to Rashad and he doesn't even seem to like her, and then in the next few pages, she's pregnant? The details of how that could happen between these 2 characters who don't even like each other in the book are absent. Oh, and the author doesn't even describe her babies as well. Overall, this book was a big disappointment. If you like reading good fiction, don't waste your time on this.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book follows the journey of 4 friends as they grow up.

Spoiler alert!

Maryam get her dream job and supposedly dream husband, until she learns that he cheated on her with an unexpected person. I'm not sure what, if anything, Maryam learned along the way - probably something about forgiveness.

Jaime learns the value of her husband, in the face of her terrible behaviour. She also learns to stand up for herself against her parents and to get a life. In the process she badly mistreats her friends - it may show that people who are too suppressed go too far when they taste freedom.

Your perfect self and the perfect life will never happen.

Alia changes for a man (maybe it's for the better, but she loses some of herself in the process). He notices her change and misses the old Alia, which is irksome since she changes for him. What a fine line to draw, to change just-enough for the one you love but not too much. Meh.

Malika is the one looking for a husband but in the end she finds herself and learns that she is okay alone.

The study of characters was deep since they all change so much over the course of the book. However, the time jumps were a bit jarring.

Quotable: "Asking a Muslim girl if she thinks about marriage is like asking a fat kid if he thinks about cake".
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is about a group of four American Muslim girls who are lifelong friends and how their friendship develops in their early twenties. Although it is written about Muslim girls, you could substitute practically any religion and have a similar book (perhaps with slightly different problems). Perhaps that is why it is easy to relate to this story. The girls' relationships and personal difficulties are particularly well written. I really appreciate that not every character spoke in the same voice; each has her own way of speaking and her own style of behavior. The girls are neither all good nor all bad, but it is easy to relate to each one in some way. My only really big problem with the book is that it just stops, leaving some story lines unresolved (I'm thinking particularly about a domestic violence situation). Other than that, I would recommend the book. Note: I read this on my Kindle and there are quite a number of spelling and grammar errors. I never know whether this is the fault of the writer, her editor, or is the result of the transition from print to digital! However, if that kind of thing really bothers you, you might want to skip this book.
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