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Unimagined: A Muslim Boy Meets the West

3.55  ·  Rating Details  ·  531 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews
Imran Ahmad remembers his childhood in a series of vivid snapshots: outrage as deserved victory is snatched away from him in the Karachi Bonnie Baby contest; being tricked out of his collection of Tarzan bubblegum cards by a junior con artist; the heady taste of success in the Metropolitan Police schools quiz; joy at passing the entrance exam to the local grammar school; a ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published 2007 by Pier 9 (first published September 12th 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,281)
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 Δx Δp ≥ ½ ħ
Pas liat poster launching buku ini, ada satu pertanyaan yang mengganjal, Memangnya kenapa kalau seorang muslim datang dan tinggal di negrinya James Bond (yang notabenenya nonmuslim)? Toh, James Bond pun kalau datang ke negeri muslim dia tidak risau. apalagi ini seorang bocah!

Karena penasaran apa sebenarnya isi buku ini dan ingin mendapatkan tanda tangan Pidi Baiq (dia datang sbg bintang tamu --memberi kata pengantar buku ini-- dan sukses bikin peserta launching terpingkal-pingkal) buat buku Drun
...more
Bunga Mawar
It's just another "what I learned from this book".

Kami pindah ke Pondok Bambu saat saya baru memulai sekolah dasar. Sahabat pertama saya, yaitu teman yang akhirnya menemani perjalanan sepanjang enam tahun pulang pergi dari rumah ke sekolah adalah Joice, seorang gadis Batak. Menjelang Natal, dia akan meletakkan rumput di dalam sepatunya yang diletakkan di luar rumah. "Taruh rumput di sepatu, besok ada hadiahnya. Itu hadiah Natal, dikasih Sinterklas," katanya.

Hmm... asik banget. Selama enam tahun
...more
Harun Harahap
Lucu sih tapi agak sedikit menyedihkan.

Menyedihkan karena dia terombang-ambing karena pergulatan jiwanya untuk menemukan agama yang SEJATI. Sayangnya dia hanya mengeluh dan puas atas pengetahuannya tentang tiap agama yang sedikit. Sehingga rasanya percuma saja dan ingin sekali teriak di kupingnya "PERDALAM DONK AGAMA YANG LO MAU". Bahkan sering dia mendiskreditkan agama Hindu dan Budha.

Dia mengeluhkan atas Rasisme yang terjadi kepada imigran, tapi padahal dia juga seorang rasis. Menjelekkan oor
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Waqar Saleem
Aug 16, 2007 Waqar Saleem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is written out like an autobiography of the author whose family migrated from Pakistan to England shortly after partition when he was still a small child. Its chapters are indexed by the year he is writing about and his age at the time, with rarely more than 6 pages devoted to each year. This makes the book a quick read.

The book lists the author's observations of and reflections on the world around him. The style is candid and the author's personal sense of humour shines through as he
...more
Ali
Jan 31, 2009 Ali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir. It's written in a very readable and deciptively simple style. In his own quiet, subtle way Imran Ahmad has addressed some big themes. The writing though is engaging, and honest, remarkably so, and Imran emerges as a decent young man, with all the bad habits, concerns and confusions of the young. Many of his trial and tribulations along the way are hilarious, and touching, and any of us who have had an unrequited love, or tried to bargin with God, will be able to ...more
Dolores
Oct 04, 2009 Dolores marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I met the author a few weeks ago when he gave a talk about the book in Dallas. He is very funny and the passages he read were hilarious. This book is NOT ABOUT A TERRORIST. Far from it. It dispells the myths and propaganda. It is about a Muslim growing up in London and being comfortable in both worlds. It is about reaching out and understanding that we all have the same desires and dreams in life, no matter who we are.
Puty P
Entertaining memoir from an interesting point of view: Moslem boy meets the West. It's really honest that it's funny , talking about a lot of things, from ridiculous students problem like body odour, to discrimination and inter-religion debate. I really like the way Imran pointing out quite a lot of stuff about Islam in a very rational & universal way, to the level I'm recommending it to both non-Moslem & Moslem. Also recommending it to Moslem parents who are raising kids in Western cult ...more
Rick
Apr 08, 2012 Rick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
On one level this is an endearing coming of age story told by a person who is a Pakistani Muslim living in Great Britain. On another level it is an apologetic for moderate Islam which ends up evolving into a warm and fuzzy universalism.

It was eye-opening to observe Ahmad's faith journey as he grappled with a religious culture clash. His story is told against the framework of selected key historical events, helping to flesh out his decisions in a known time frame.

Although I enjoyed many aspects
...more
Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)
A decent read. I liked the chronology of this book and reading Ahmad's difference in thoughts as he grew older. Reading Ahmad's experiences was interesting and it gave a good idea of what life was like for 'coloureds' living in the United Kingdom during the 60's and even later. I found that his developing thoughts on his own religion were also interesting, with the current events of the time well interweaved with his thoughts. A reasonably easy read, but not entirely compelling - Unfortunately, ...more
Baljit
Feb 24, 2013 Baljit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finished this in a day..... Absolutely refreshing!

Imran writes candidly about his life as a Pakistani boy in London. From a room in a bedsit, to his parents own home, his entrance into a prestigious grammer school and his university days in Scotland.
But thru his ups and downs he is plagued by religious questions and his discussions with various Christian evangelists fuel his doubts about Islam being the true path. Life is a journey as Imran discovers....

Hope this brilliant writer produces more
...more
Sierra
Dec 09, 2015 Sierra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I would guess is the case for most readers from "the West," I was drawn to this book because I don't know any Muslim people who are growing up, living and working here. And if I did, I wouldn't exactly be able to say, "Hey, what's that like? How's that been like from birth through now?" Enter Imran Ahmad. He's clearly been on quite a journey in his life - born to a Pakistani Muslim family (which I can only imagine), growing up in Britain (which I can only imagine), navigating the British scho ...more
Susan
Apr 23, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book is charming. It's the narrative of a young Pakistani immigrant who grows up in Britain. It deals with culture clash and facing racism and he does it with a great deal of humor about himself and softness towards Britain. At the same time, he lets the reader close enough that one really cares about the issues for him and his comments about Britain are very very funny and astute. I enjoyed the book very much and I recommend it. It becomes a bit pedantic at the end in his discussion of rel ...more
Tariq Mahmood
Feb 15, 2014 Tariq Mahmood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pakistan, bbcd
3.5 stars for me. The book reads like a diary, albeit a very interesting one of a small Pakistani boy raised in London in the 70's. His family is not ultra conservative so the Imran is able to engage somewhat with his white working class environment. Imran is infatuated by cars, beautiful women and religion. The book oscillates around these three themes as the reader is taken through some very entertaining and page turning events through school and university. I enjoyed the author frank admissio ...more
Mom
Mar 27, 2015 Mom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a charming, humorous, deceptively simple and easy-to-read book with deep insights and even wisdom.

Imar Ahmad's memoir tells the story of his life, one chapter per year, starting from his birth in Karachi, West Pakistan. At age one he loses the "Bonny Baby" contest to the organizer's child. "This is absolutely typical of third world, banana republic unfairness.... I was denied the title of 'Karachi's Bonniest Boy' by blatant nepotism. I began my lifelong struggle against corruption and i
...more
Bismi
Mar 03, 2015 Bismi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ini adalah buku memoar sang penulis, jadi ceritanya ditulis dari sudut pandang orang pertama. Buku ini cukup bagus tapi tidak membuat berkesan.
Tapi membuka mata saya bagaimana keadaan seorang muslim sebagai minoritas di eropa (khususnya Inggris).

Bagian yang mengganggu adalah tentang kisah cinta "bertepuk sebelah tangan"-nya dengan Janice yang hampir memenuhi setengah akhir buku, sangat tidak penting.

Hidup dari kecil di Inggris, jadi minoritas dan memdapat perlakuan diskriminatif menjadikan dia
...more
Hana Bilqisthi
Jan 01, 2014 Hana Bilqisthi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: islam
buku ini menggambarkan bagaimana proses adaptasi budaya seorang imigran, bernama
imran. dia memahami mengapa ada orang inggris yang membenci imigran namun di sisi lain dia berusaha agar dirinya diterima oleh masyarkat inggris. salah satu upayanya adalah dengan berusaha meniru cara berpakaian orang inggris dan menguasai inggris dengan grammar dan aksen inggris
hal tersebut membuat dia percaya diri
dan dia justru menjadi tidak suka pada orang inggris yang tidak bersikap seperti orang inggris
proses as
...more
Dolores
Feb 05, 2015 Dolores rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This wonderful book came out in April 2012, but I didn't come across it until recently. It is the memoir of a little boy from Pakistan who grows up in London. Each chapter covers a year of his life as he struggles to excel in school in a foreign country, often facing racism. He tries to learn more about Islamic beliefs and prayers and decides Christianity appears to be much easier. He knows where babies come from but tries to figure out where they come out.

I learned a lot about religion even as
...more
Ruth
Sep 21, 2015 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found an ARC of this book at a library sale; I don't know what differences there might be between the version I read and the final edition.

This book was engaging and enlightening. It let me see the world, specifically the Western world, through the eyes of a Muslim boy who was remarkably like me and many of the people I know: he is honest about his past and present religious doubts, his failures and shortcomings, his expectations and dreams. Beautifully written; I finished it in just one week
...more
Sarah Lameche
Jan 09, 2014 Sarah Lameche rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
What a fun read! The author takes us through his experiences of racism and religious dilemmas in an often comical way.
So much so that you forget how hurtful and frightening it really must have been for a young child.
What I loved about this book is his refreshing honesty in every aspect. No thoughts or emotions kept hidden. It was also interesting to hear his views on ' wahhabism' which was only just appearing in the UK then. I'd really love to know how he feels now that it's spread so thorough
...more
gieb
Jan 19, 2010 gieb marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
jadi pengin baca. beliin dong, tong!
Roxanne Sami
Aug 09, 2014 Roxanne Sami rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Three and a half to be accurate! This Was my first time to read a memoir so I'm not here to rate it as a type. Here I'll go more generic and persist I did enjoy the reading!. although there's nothing really special about the plotting and I did not see it any funny as ppl were exaggerating! What I really enjoyed was how the writer introduced the beautiful moderate Islam and how forgiven and open-minded moderate Muslims really are, unlike the ugly image that some western governments and communitie
...more
Jules
The first part of tackling this book is to read through (well, I don’t know if you do but I do) pages and pages of positive book reviews on the book in hand. Writers and reviewers rave and crave around this book – sometimes this sets up the book for failure (in my own humble opinion) due to too much mega-gushing in advance. So often it paints a scenario of so much to live up to. Not so this time though. This book is a winner and a keeper of the attention span, that’s for sure.

Within its pages, A
...more
Autumn Blues Reviews
Mar 28, 2012 Autumn Blues Reviews rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Poignant and thought provoking a roller-coaster ride of emotional consciousness.

This memoir had me laughing from the first chapter. Imran really pours his heart out in this book and it is easy to tell he is completely sincere. In The Perfect Gentleman Imran shares a little bit about each year of his life, from his birth up until his late teens, skipping through later adulthood at faster pace. It easy for the reader to immerse themselves into this story and follow Imran along as he attends school
...more
Rachel
I enjoyed this book from the point when Imran went to university, before the only thing of interest was his education about different religious beliefs.



I wouldn't say this is a 'hilarious' book as the back cover suggests, rather a wry look at someone trying to fit into a culture and make sense of his beliefs.



Interestingly the author made no mention of the religious discussions in the book when I heard him give an author talk. This is quite a substantial part of the book.



There's no mention of a
...more
DubaiReader
Apr 22, 2010 DubaiReader rated it liked it
Shelves: ew-pm-bk-grp, 2010
A lively book group discussion.

I recently heard Imran Ahmad speak at a literary festival and I have to say he was a riveting speaker. He kept a large audience highly entertained for an hour with the ease of a natural.
As a result of this excellent one-man-show I recommended we try his book at our monthly reading group.
Unfortunately it was not received with the enthusiasm of other Amazon reviewers and my star rating above reflects the average view of the 9 people who discussed the book, two of who
...more
Irawan Senda
Hmm entahlah saya harus bilang apa untuk buku ini, lucunya menurut saya sedikit tapi lebih banyak seriusnya bila dibandingkan buku Pidi Baiq. Buku ini sebenarnya membicarakan masalah penting yang tidak diungkap banyak orang di Inggris, yaitu soal rasisme Pakistan Muslim. Beberapa kali dia menerima ejekan dari orang lain karena ia warga negara Pakistan.

Kesan saya bertemu penulisnya:

Saat saya bertemu dengan penulisnya langsung di MP Book Point, saya mendapati Imran memang sosok yang sangat serius.
...more
Amy
Year by year snippets of life, sometimes very funny. This is really two books spliced together. Four stars for the first part, about growing up as "the other." Three stars for the second part, about examining one's faith.

Imran's childhood stories about being Pakistani in 1960s & 1970s London were pitched just right. I really felt his confusion, felt his struggle to rise above all the micro-aggressions, and the more open racism. I really felt his dread of having to explain, year after year, t
...more
Nicky
Aug 18, 2012 Nicky rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was excited to read this coming-of-age memoir when several copies of it were inexplicably shipped to the nonprofit where I work. In a blurb on the front cover, the author of a highly regarded book referred to it as "laugh out loud." I was in the mood for a funny book. Instead, it was mostly dull, sometimes informative, and only occasionally mildly amusing.

The author writes a chapter for every year of his life until age 25, recounting what it was like to grow up in London as a Pakistani immigr
...more
okyrhoe
I liked the organization of the memoir, titled by theme, and then the age & dates at the bottom of each page as a quick reference.

Some remarks --->

1. The young boy interprets the aggressive racist behavior as inevitable even though it greaty angers him personally. It's true that kids can be bullied and harrassed at school, regardless of their background, and part of growing up is learning to deal with it. The young Imran though witnesses his own mother at the edge of a nervous breakdown b
...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
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“Seharusnya Islam adalah sebuah agama bagi seluruh dunia, terlepas dari ras, bahasa maupun kebudayaan. Tidak masuk akal bahwa Tuhan mengharapkan semua orang di seluruh dunia untuk belajar membaca tulisan Arab, bukan?” 1 likes
“Yang disebut sekolah-sekolah Islam di Inggris menyedot habis energi murid-muridnya dengan memaksa mereka membaca dan mengingat-ngingat ayat Al-Qur’an dalam bahasa Arab, yang maknanya tidak dimengerti oleh para murid maupun guru. Jika memang ada diskusi mengenai Islam, sang Imam (yang terkadang bahkan tidak bisa bahasa Inggris) bebas mendefinisikan Islam sesuai kehendaknya, dan siapa yang bisa membantah?” 1 likes
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