Today I'm breaking down my book review into Light Reads and Heavy Reads.
Jinni are always interesting to read about and this was no exception. I liked Nalia as a character. My favorite part was her time in the ocean. I liked that while there were two men it wasn't a love triangle. The two supporting female characters were strong and developed.
I just thought originally that this was a standalone book and it is so not.
This took me two weeks to read and just never took off. But the story was interesting which is why I kept reading.
That said I tried to dive into book two and blah... the story doesn't pick up. So I sent the series back to the library without reading. Weird.
"I read the book, marveling at the clarity and naughtiness of its author. But I really didn't have to. Just looking at it, just wanting to read it - that already meant I doubted, and I knew that. Before I'd read four pages I already knew my answer. I had left God behind years ago. I was an atheist.
I had no one to talk to about this. One night in that Greek hotel I looked in the mirror and said out loud, "I don't believe in God." I said it slowly, enunciating it carefully, in Somali. And I felt relief.
It felt right. There was no pain, but a real clarity. The long process of seeing the flaws in my belief structure and carefully tiptoeing around the frayed edges as parts of it were torn out, piece by piece - that was all over. The angels, watching from my shoulders; the mental tension about having sex without marriage, and drinking alcohol, and not observing any religious obligations - they were gone. The ever-present prospect of hellfire lifted, and my horizon seemed broader. God, Satan, angels: these were all figments of human imagination. From now on I could step firmly on the ground that was under my feet and navigate based on my own reason and self-respect. My moral compass was within myself, not in the pages of a sacred book.
When we got back from Corfu, I began going to museums. I needed to see ruins and mummies and old dead people, to look at the reality of the bones and to absorb the realization that, when I die, I will become just a bunch of bones. I was on a psychological mission to accept living without a God, which means accepting that I give my life its own meaning. I was looking for a deeper sense of morality. In Islam you are Allah's slave: you submit, and thus, ideally, you are devoid of personal will. You are not a free individual. You behave well because you fear Hell; you have no personal ethic. If God meant only that which is good, and Satan that which is evil, then both were in me. I wanted to develop the good side of me - discipline, generosity, love - and suppress the bad: anger, envy, laziness, cruelty."
There are some horrifying aspects of this book. And I don't mean to gloss over them or make this all about me. But when she get her citizenship and started to become her own person and work through things, I was right there with her. I have done that growing and discovery. The above quote is one of my favorite passages. Because I have done that.
This book is a great, horrifying read and I am glad to have read it.