The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters
Genre: YA Novel
Age recommendation: 15+
Price: 13 USD
Available:Crescent Moon Store
Islamic screening: crushes/relationships, although no physical touch. Some cussing. men and women don’t really have boundaries (its mentioned as “not proper” when Fatima stays at the house of her male driving instructor) Hijab/modesty are mentioned as something done in “Bangladesh” and implied to be oppressive/patriarchal. Some uncomfortable phrases about God, questioning God/God’s will.
⭐️Summary: Fatima, Farah, Bubblee, and Mae are four Bangladeshi sisters raised in England, each struggling with her own set of problems. Fatima struggles with her weight and lack of love, Farah wants a baby but can’t have kids, Bubblee is trying to be a famous artist and escape her family, and Mae is obsessed with social media.
Farah’s husband gets into an accident and goes into a coma, and it turns out he’s bankrupt. The whole family has to gather together to pick up the pieces and the book ends with a huge bake sale to help the couple.
Fatima finds out she’s adopted and goes to Bangladesh to meet her real parents, but realizes they don’t care about her. In fact, no one in Bangladesh seems to care about “girls/women” in so much that they are a tool to have babies. Fatima realizes her true family is the one that adopted her and raised her and goes back home.
⭐️Thoughts: It seemed to criticize Bangladesh culture and glorify the idea that the civilized Muslims were the ones in the west. It seemed a little narrow-minded. Islamic practices weren’t really mentioned beyond saying “bismillah” once and eating halal. The book seems to be a critique/exaggeration of cultural practices like glorifying sons over daughters, pushing marriage as the end all, and fat-shaming. While I know these cultural biases exist in some places, I felt like they were pushed too much in the book.
It seemed to reinforce stereotypes about Muslims women.
It was a dramatic story though, with twists and turns. It kept me flipping pages to know what happened. I don’t know yet if I’ll get the rest of the books in the series.
Overall, an interesting read, but not really full of any lessons beyond love of family.
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