Thursday, September 23, 2010
Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Amal, an Australian teen of Palestinian descent, decides to wear the hijab (the Muslim head scarf) at the end of her winter break. She's just a normal teenager, embarrassed by her father's behavior and disagreeing with her mother over the state of her bedroom. After donning the hijab, Amal learns to deal with the odd stares and questions from classmates and friends with lots of humor.
I could tell just by the title, Does My Head Look Big in This?, this story is told with lots of humor. Amal's first person narrative gives a spotlight to her humor, where I could imagine her as a typical teen adjusting to the changes in her life. Although I don't know much about the Muslim culture, I didn't feel lost, because the author used Amal to explain the differences. By using a humorous tone in this novel, the author was able to explore some of the conflicts a young Muslim must face in today's world without changing the feel of the novel.
I think this will appeal to many teen girls, whether they are Muslim or not. Anyone who has to deal with making an important decision and standing up for it will feel camaraderie with Amal, for this story is more about growing up than growing up Muslim. Most enjoyable story -- a 'B' grade from me.