Book Review–Does My Head Look Big In This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah

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This is the 34th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com
Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Does My Head Look Big In This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Published 2005 by Orchard Books

When sixteen-year-old Amal decides to wear the hijab full-time, her entire world changes, all because of a piece of cloth…

Sixteen-year-old Amal makes the decision to start wearing the hijab full- time and everyone has a reaction. Her parents, her teachers, her friends, people on the street. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else.

Can she handle the taunts of “towel head,” the prejudice of her classmates, and still attract the cutest boy in school? Brilliantly funny and poignant, Randa Abdel-Fattah’s debut novel will strike a chord in all teenage readers, no matter what their beliefs.

 

——

 

I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while. I was pretty excited–and honestly kind of surprised–to discover it at my local library. I don’t really know many Muslims. There also don’t seem to be many where I live, either.

Before reading this, I didn’t really understand why Muslim women wore the hijab, though I respected their choice to wear it. I feel that after reading this book, I understand more than I did before. There’s still a lot I don’t and probably will never know, but I hope to learn more. If anyone reads this review and has any other book recommendations for me, I’d love to hear them.

This ended up being a great story. I enjoyed the characters, the plot, the relationships, and the thought-provoking questions. And the writing style/voice grew on me after a while. I like that the book seems to be realistic when it comes to people. They don’t change overnight–it’s a gradual change.

I liked how this book tackled all of the issues regarding girls who choose to wear the hijab, especially how others judge them. I also liked how the different families were portrayed. Though to be honest, I really hated Leila’s brother and his hypocritical attitude. I wanted to punch him as much as I believe Amal wanted to. I wasn’t a huge fan of Leila’s family and felt for the poor girl, but I liked how things seemed to be going for her toward the end.

All of the scenes with Amal and her grouchy Greek neighbor, Mrs. Vaselli, were hilarious. I’m still torn on the Amal and Adam relationship–I loved it at first, but hate how Adam ended up treating her for standing up for her beliefs. I also enjoyed Amal’s scenes when she’s with her friends. Those especially seemed to come to life for me.

This was a powerful read about embracing your identity and I hope even those who have stereotypical concepts will give it a chance.

 

 

4stars

 

 

 

jncname

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4 thoughts on “Book Review–Does My Head Look Big In This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah

  1. I read this book when it first came out & simply loved it. I enjoyed it because it explores the crises faced by a bicultural individual. I’m a Muslim in a predominantly Muslim nation so it’s refreshing to read the perspectives of a minority.

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