Leila's Reviews > Towelhead

Towelhead by Alicia Erian
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Aug 13, 2010

really liked it
Read in January, 2005

This is the coming of age story of Jasira, a blossoming Lebanese-American, who is sent to live with her Lebanese father after her mother's boyfriend comes on to her. While with her father, she develops relationships with various people in her neighborhood and at school, one of them a pedophillic Army reservist. It is clear that this girl is searching for love and acceptance, but she does it in self-destructive ways.

This was a disturbing novel. It made be feel "icky" while reading it (the same way I felt when I watched the movies "Bully" and "Kids"). All the same, I was surprised by how much I had in common with the protagonist, Jasira. For example, I never realized that it was "weird" to drink hot tea from a little glass tea cups with cubes of sugar in your mouth. As an Iranian-American, I am aware that I grew up differently from my friends, but somehow I failed to realize that our tea customs fell into the "different" category.

Reading this book is like watching a trainwreck; you can't look away and the images stick with you.
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