Review—A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

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An exquisitely written story about the members of an Indian-American Muslim family struggling to find a place to belong both at home and in the world

Rafiq and Layla want their children to honor the traditions of their own upbringings in India. That means arranged marriages, traditional gender roles, and preserving their image in the community. Rafiq is proud, harsh, and detached, and Layla, strong but silent, chooses to keep the peace rather than challenge him. Their three children are American born and raised and have their own expectations for life, but neither Rafiq nor Layla is willing to recognize the difference between themselves and their children. Hadia is the perfect, dependable older sister. Huda is the middle sister—religious and independent. Amar is their younger brother—bright and sensitive but always in trouble. While the family is tight-knit, the house is often a quiet, tense place, and the relationships and interactions are often toxic.

The novel opens at Hadia’s wedding, where she is (surprisingly) marrying a partner of her own choice. Amar’s presence at the wedding is the source of serious tension; he has been estranged from the family, and the wedding is the first time they have seen him in years. View Post

Review—A Quranic Odyssey: Towards Juz ‘Amma (Volume 1) by Umm Muhammed

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Towards Juz ‘Amma is a cute, sweet story about a family undergoing a hifdh journey. It is made up of 40 short chapters, with each one revolving around a specific teachable moment in the family’s life, usually between the mother and the children, but sometimes including other family members. The main characters are Pakistani mother Khadija, Italian father Abdurrahman, precocious five-year-old Ibrahim, and repetitive two-year-old Amna. View Post