Libby Ames's Reviews > Does My Head Look Big In This?

Does My Head Look Big In This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
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Aug 31, 10

bookshelves: audio-book, young-adult-fiction
Read in August, 2010

Amal Abdel-Hakim is a seventeen year-old Australian-Palestinian-Muslim who makes the decision to wear the hijab (traditional Muslim head covering) full-time. She is attending a private, high-class prep school and is the only Muslim in the school. Also, the book takes place in the year following 9/11 when prejudice toward Muslims is especially high.

The writing isn't profound, but the characterization is well-done and the issues presented are very thought-provoking. Through Amal's descriptions of her feelings about Islam and the hijab, I gained an even greater respect for her religion and the strength and courage of those who follow it in peace. Abdel-Fattah illustrates that it is a misconception that Muslim women are oppressed by their religion; however, she points out that some who follow the culture of Islam rather than the true teachings of the Koran can perpetuate the oppression of women.

With the recent upsurge of prejudice surrounding the building of the mosque in New York, I felt this book was especially enlightening and uplifting. It is young adult literature and deals with typical teenage problems and insecurities, but it is also a valuable look at a viewpoint we don't often see. From experience, I know that practicing a religion that is different from traditional Christianity is difficult. I could relate to Amal's struggles as she is ridiculed for abstaining from alcohol and sex (or even intimacy) before marriage. Her efforts to live her faith are even more admirable than those I experienced as a Mormon girl. Living by faith, whatever your faith may be, should be applauded and respected.
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