The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf: A Novel Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-02-19 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 43 user ratings

" Nicely written. I couldn't wait to return to it. But: at times it seemed as if it were just an exercise in various types of Muslim piety. Very religious, rebellious against religion, return to Syria, moderate religiously. I don't mind the questioning, but some of it felt artificial. That said, I did enjoy the insight into Muslim life in 1980s Indiana. And the idea of a tangerine scarf. It ended in more of a story way than the middle of the book, and for that I'm glad. " said.

"A deep look at faith and culture - what it means to be raised in a particular faith and how questioning that faith impacts your identity. Khadra is raised in Indiana by Syrian immigrants who are fundamentalist Muslims. Extremely devout as a child, as she grows up, Khadra begins to question the rules, customs and values of her tight-knit community. Ultimately, she must carve out a path for herself in which she can be true to herself, her faith and her values - without completely abandoning her upbringing. A very thoughtful and thought-provolking novel, with compelling characters and dilemmas." said.

"A great novel about a Muslim immigrant woman which does not end with the protagonist getting rid of her veil following the stereotype! I found Khadra Shamy a representative of many Muslim women in the modern world, not only the immigrant ones. Many religious practices make her question them at a certain stage after being indoctrinated and believing in them for years. As a result, she clings more to religion and faith after questioning and exploring them, but this time she does through her own views which are more spiritual than technical. What is impressive about this is that she does not dismiss her beliefs as she is expected to, but rather proceeds her life as a religious Muslim with broader prospects.
What I loved most, is her holding on to her veil in America to show her Muslim heritage and identity to Amercians when it could have been safer for her to give up on it.
I will not give the fifth star only because I think Mohja Kahf focuses more on the disadvantages of the Muslim communities while she could have given the advantages more lines in the novel.
Absolutely recommended.
" said.

"This is a very, very hefty book. It's a long one. But despite this obvious conclusion (the physical nature of the book speaks for itself), it's a book you should read continuously from start to finish in the shortest amount possible. "Continuously" not referring to quickly, rather, read it as you would watch a movie; the flow is very cinematic, as fluid as frames of a movie or moments of life.

I would give this novel a 4, but I believe a 3.5 is closer to what I would regard the entirety as. The beginning of Kahdra's journey, whilst humble and stuffed full with character building, is extremely slow. Around the middle of the novel(view spoiler)" said.

"Earlier this year I decided I want to read more books by diverse authors. I especially want to read more from the perspective of the Islamic community, both here and abroad. One of the reasons I enjoy reading is because it opens me to perspectives and experiences that I may not ever have otherwise. I've read multiple books by Middle Eastern authors this year, but The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf is the first I have read from the perspective of a Muslim woman living in America.

Set in Indiana in the 1970's, this story explores what it is like to come of age in a place where you are consistently "the other" and often "the enemy." Khadra lives with her father, mother and two brothers in a small Muslim community in Indiana. Her father is one of the coordinators for an Islamic community center. While Khadra and her family live in America, eventually even becoming citizens after the Iranian revolution, they do not wish to become part of American culture. In fact, as Khadra grows up, it becomes harder and harder for her to hold to the rigid tenets of a culture she loves deeply, but which she also feels keeps her from becoming fully herself. 

Told as a retrospective from an adult Khadra who has broken away from her community and lives independently as a photo-journalist, this is a coming of age story unlike any I have read before. Khadra is brave, beautiful and complicated in ways which make her more alike than unlike any of us who struggle to find our voice and our way. Her spiritual struggles resonated deeply with questions I have asked of my own theology and faith community. 

I loved this story deeply. While in part I think it may be a case of the perfect book at the perfect time, I also know it's a beautiful and important story for any person at any time. This is one of my favorites of the year so far. I can't wait to read more by this author and about Islamic culture.
" said.

" A very honest look at the immigrant Muslim seems to be based off the author's experience growing up near ISNA headquarters. Rather dramatized in parts, it is nontheless a well-written story of growth, self-exploration, and finding one's self and spirituality. Definitely the first "good" Muslim-American piece of literature I've come across. " said.

" This is such a beautiful book. The language is superb, and I expected no less because Mohja Kahf is also an excellent poet, but the topic! Young Muslim American-Syrian woman looking for her own understanding and her own expression of spirituality. It's truly amazing how many questions her, no more than 30 years long, existence on these 400-something pages can answer. Enjoyed every single sentence. 4.5 out of 5. " said.

" The writing isn't particularly good but the story is most excellent... a frank, engaging, down-to-earth narrative about growing up Muslim American that doesn't try to pull any punches or pretty up the experience of dealing with malicious and/or kindly well-meaning racism at every turn. It also deftly explores the experience of being too "foreign" for America but too American to go anywhere else, and looks at how one woman navigates these forces and works to make of her life what she wants to. " said.

May 2018 New Book:

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