American Dervish

American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar - 368 pages
Book Blurb:
Hayat Shah is a young American in love for the first time. His normal life of school, baseball, and video games had previously been distinguished only by his Pakistani heritage and by the frequent chill between his parents, who fight over things he is too young to understand. Then Mina arrives, and everything changes.
Mina is Hayat's mother's oldest friend from Pakistan. She is independent, beautiful and intelligent, and arrives on the Shah's doorstep when her disastrous marriage in Pakistan disintegrates. Even Hayat's skeptical father can't deny the liveliness and happiness that accompanies Mina into their home. Her deep spirituality brings the family's Muslim faith to life in a way that resonates with Hayat as nothing has before. Studying the Quran by Mina's side and basking in the glow of her attention, he feels an entirely new purpose mingled with a growing infatuation for his teacher.
When Mina meets and begins dating a man, Hayat is confused by his feelings of betrayal. His growing passions, both spiritual and romantic, force him to question all that he has come to believe is true. Just as Mina finds happiness, Hayat is compelled to act -- with devastating consequences for all those he loves most.
My Review: 4.5 stars
I can’t thank my friend Terri enough for recommending this book to me. I’d heard about this title but never wanted to delve into a book heavy on religion and the politics between Jews and Muslims. This book offered so much more; at its heart it’s a love story between child and adult, between man and his religion, between the written word and it’s true intent and finally between friends, both muslim and muslim AND muslim and jew. I learned so much from this story and was quite enlightened. The author writes at a great pace and truly grasps the emotions of the characters he writes about. I highly suggest this book for a Book Club as there is so much to discuss.
Quotes I liked:
- “That’s why I’m bringing you up differently, so that you learn how to respect a woman. That’s the truth, kurban: I’m bringing you up like a little Jew.”

- “The secret of a happy life is respect. Respect for yourself and respect for others.”

-“It’s because you’re different. You can’t live life by rules others give you. In that way, you and I are the same. You have to find your own rules. All my life I’ve been running away from their rules, Hayat. All my life. You will be the same.”
Tags: 2013, Fiction, Coming Of Age, Other Religions

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