The Good Daughter
Fifteen-year-old Sabiha has a lot to deal with: her mother's mental health issues, her interfering aunt, her mother's new boyfriend, her live-in grandfather and his chess buddy, not to mention her arrogant cousin Adnan. They all want to marry her off, have her become a strict Muslim and speak Bosnian.
I am always hesitant to compare novels but in this case I think a comparison is helpful to give you a good feel for the vibe and quality of the novel. When I think about The Good Daughter it is easy to compare it to Melina Marchetta's Looking for Alibrandi and Randa Abdel-Fattah's Ten Things I Hate About Me
It's not just because these novels also feature a non-Caucasian protagonist or a lively multi-cultural cast ~ it is the similarities in how Pajalic manages to thrust you completely into to characters lives and community with such ease and effortless humour.
I found it a bit ironic that the novel is titled 'The Good Daughter' as Sabiha struggles in her role of being a good daughter. She is sassy and often lets her mouth run ahead of her. She's flouncy and feisty and angsty and a perfect lead character ~ flawed and ache-y and confused and fiery all with a generous heart and a conflicted soul. She is a lot of fun. She had me grinning and also cringing ~ she's a whole array of emotions and Pajalic nails writing for teens ~ it was not condescending in any way, it felt like a real teen voice tearing through the pages.
Plot wise I was SOLD. I am always always fond of books that do not feature a OMG inciting incident to create conflict. Instead the conflict is largely internal and driven by the actions of all the people in Sabiha's life. It's about school and family and crushes and being torn between her Bosnian community and wanting to be like every other average Aussie. It's about identity and belonging and growing up.
Sabiha's mum had bipolar and I LOVED how it was represented in this book. She did an honest and amazing job (speaking from someone who has close personal experience with bipolar). It was not glamourised or used as a plot device to create dramatic conflict.
Sabiha's cousin Adnan. How funny is he? I really loved the guy. OH ~ and he gets on 'The Price is Right' with Larry Emdur. OMG, I was killing myself laughing.
I loved just how Australian this novel was. It is so easy to relate and settle into a book when the cultural references are about our TV shows and our celebs and our current events, etc. This is a novel that will resonate with Aussie teens.
I loved all the little details and funny dialogue. Stuff like Sabiha making a joke about Jesse having copies of the Twilight saga hidden under his bed :D
It is set in Melbourne. What is it with all these awesome Aussie characters roaming around the streets of Melbourne?
Recommended: The thing about this novel is it is just brimming with vitality. It's poignant and truly grin-worthy funny and absolutely heart-felt. Good good stuff. ...more
The novel could be about that immigrant story and nothing else. That narrative arc would be sufficient for a well written, coming of age, young adult novel, which this book is. But I’m a greedy reader so I loved the fact that The Good Daughter took me somewhere else, led me into other darker places, without losing its cor ...more
What interested me most about The Good Daughter was the way Amra Pajalic explores Sammie’s struggle between the traditional Bosnian-Muslim beliefs of her family whilst navigating adolescence ...more
Carlo is a Mafia boss who fled Italy to the U.S. His son Massimo is a sick degenerate. His daughter Marissa was used sexually by her family - loaning her out to anyone that could bring more power to the family. Sandro is an Italian soccer star. In America he meets Nia - a female soccer star - and for Sandro it is instant love. They marry and move to Italy. Carlo makes Sandro an offer he cannot refuse. Sandro hopes it is a one time ...more
The Good Daughter share some of the identity and cultural conflict themes found in Looking for Alibrandi and Does My Head Looks Big In This but failed to be as good a read. I had real problem with the story flow. I did not like most of the characters. While I empathise with the main character situation, I could not bring myself to like her. I ...more
Not the best book in this genre I have read, but definitely a worthy addition.
This is a surprisingly complicated story of Sabiha, teenage girl who's secular mother takes a sharp right turn back towards Islam, the religion she disavowed when she came to Australia. It's not an untypical story of the kind of tensions felt by teenagers with a foot in two cultures, but it is a direct, honest and – at times – an unabashedly confronting one. Pajalic takes her (presumedly young) readers seriously and we don't get easy or expected answers or ...more