Monday, January 26, 2009

Book Review: Does My Head Look Big in This

What better place to be reading a book than sitting on the beach whilst the kids are being kept busy in the sand and sea on a loveley warm sunny day.

OK so I did not get through this whole book while at the beach and I did get into the sea for a dip but I was able to get through a substantial amount of this book whilst we were on the coast for a week.

Does my head look big in this? was an easy fictional read about 16year old Amal Mohamed Nasrullah Abdel-Hakim an Australian-Palestinian- Muslim and spans a over a period of approx 1 Australian school term (11weeks) and the dilemmas she faces as a teenager going to McCleans Grammar School in Melbourne.

Whilst on holidays Amal makes the decision that she would like to return to school wearing a hijab (head scarf) on a full time basis, not just part-time. That means she will be wearing her hijab in all public situations outside her family home including to school each day. Even if she may encounter negativity from others. Amal goes through the process of all teenagers wanting to wear the right clothes, looking nice and fitting in.

In the end Amal finds that through the support of her family, her old school friends and current school friends she gets through in tact and feels comfortable with the person she is.

This book whilst raises some serious issues is easy and lighthearted to read and a great recommendation to any teenager/young adult trying to fit in to their world whilst trying to be true to themselves even if it means sticking out a little.

I have been very fortunate to be brought up in a society which was so rich in diversity as a child my dad had a Lebanese friend and from a young age we were eating Lebanese foods, my mum worked in hotels and had friends who were Yugoslav, Thai, Japanese, Polish. At school I was friends with Muslims who would pray at lunch, Greeks and Chinese so for me I have a great respect for all humans who ultimately have respect for others. I am however Anglo and have not experienced discrimination due to race so I can not fully understand the dilemmas faced by making a choice to wear something which really makes me stand out but I guess as a teenager I faced many of the challenges of fitting in and belonging - in the end it is about surrounding yourself with a few friends who love and support you for all you are and ignoring those who choose to put you on the outer for whatever reasons they may choose.


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