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American Taliban: A Novel
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American Taliban: A Novel

3.22  ·  Rating details ·  302 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
An avid, near-six-foot-tall surfer, John Jude Parish cuts a striking figure on the beaches of the Outer Banks in North Carolina. When he isn’t on water, John lives on wheels, a self-described skate rat—grinding and kickflipping with his friends, and encouraged by his progressive parents. His hero is the great explorer Richard Burton, his personal prophet is Bob Dylan, and ...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published April 13th 2010 by Random House (first published January 1st 2010)
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Apr 27, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Christine by: Book Page newsletter
Horrendous. Absolutely awful. SPOILER ALERT: Don't read this review if you are interested in reading the book and don't want to know about it.

The book starts off okay, but not great. John Jude is a laid-back surfer who is interested in studying the Arabic language. From Washington, D.C. he goes to Brooklyn to attend an Arabic school. Then he decides he needs to fully immerse himself in the culture in order to learn the language. He travels to Pakistan, immerses himself in not only the
May 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was amazing. I heard of it when it came out and was turned off by the title. Not only did it seem motivated by shock value but I hate the ubiquitous use of "American" to modify titles, as thought it were significant. American Beauty, American Idiot, American Woman, American Psycho, etc. Overused. (Well, I sort of give American Beauty a pass because of the wordplay since it's the name of the cultivar of rose, but still...)
Anyway, and I wouldn't have liked it so close to the actual events of
Emer Martin
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just finished this extraordinary book this morning. I haven't read anything so unpredictable and thought provoking in a long time. Pearl Abraham is a powerful and forceful writer in total command of her characters and her material.
I was transported with the young privileged surf kid John Jude from the shores of the Atlantic to Brooklyn and to the mountains of Pakistan and into the unknown. His story though hard to fathom is utterly plausible in Abraham's hands. She has the knack of creating fas
Jacob Andra
The author admirably attempts to tackle a thorny and controversial subject—the radicalization of a young white American—but the story craps out right as it is getting interesting. It's like, popularity, girls, surfing, blah blah blah for the first part (boring/bland), then adventure/shocking for the second, then a total flatline for the last bit.
Feb 09, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book starts off following John Jude Parish, the 18-year-old son of Barbara and Bill, hanging out with his surfer-girl friends in the Outer Banks (OBX) of Virginia. John is the product of an upper-class, loving upbringing, and is described as intelligent and well-adjusted. He has chosen to defer his acceptance to Brown University for one year in order to study different topics and really enjoy surfing and skateboarding. A skating injury throws a monkey wrench in his plans, and a series of ev ...more
This is probably the longest review I have written so here is my summary: not bad, but I would not recommend either.

So I picked this up because I found myself in the "A" section of the library. I only glanced at the description because as soon as it started talking about surfing I rolled my eyes. Not sure why.

Anyway, at the beginning of the book I really wanted to relate to the main character. The author gives him a full birthday (including year) and so I knew he was almost exactly the same age
Tyler Stoffel
The story of an over-priveledged American teenager who turns Taliban fighter over the course of a year of study. The story, far-fetched as it may sound, is very believable, as are the characters Abraham creates. The downfall of the story is actually the title, because it gives away at first glance what my have been a great surprise if presented in a different way. John Jude Parish follows a very American patrh of self discovery that leads to join a war he knows zero about.

John Jude Parish is ver
May 20, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I feel underwhelmed by this story of privileged John Jude who finds himself attracted to Islam and gets involved in terrorism, something so much bigger than he understands. Abraham had a good concept, and I liked how she never allowed John to fall into believing stereotypical images many have of Muslims and Islam. John is always receptive to what he learns.

However, I think Abraham had difficulty creating unique and believable characters. I seriously could not stand John ignoring his gut feeling
Bart Vanvaerenbergh
Boeiend boek uit 2010, maar nog steeds zeer actueel.
De Engelse titel "American Taliban" zegt beter waar het over gaat.
John Jude is een Amerikaanse tiener die verzot is op skaten en surfen. Via het schoolvak "wereldgodsdiensten" raakt geïnteresseerd in Arabisch en de islam.
Pearl Abraham verplaatst zich schijnbaar moeiteloos in de wereld van een skatende en zoekende tiener. Zeer vlot geschreven !
Jun 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A novel to leave you fascinated, shellshocked, confused, and heartbroken. Abraham deconstructs misconceptions and diffuses predispositions, leaving any mind reeling at the complexity of the Middle East, and curious as to how American patriotism parallels a larger narrative of Muslim faith. A stunning read.
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Pearl Abraham is the author of the novels The Romance Reader and Giving Up America, and the editor of the Dutch anthology Een Sterke Vrouw: Jewish Heroines in Literature. Her work has appeared in Brooklyn Noir, The Michigan Quarterly, Religion in America, Dog Culture: Writers on the Character of Canines, and Forward.
More about Pearl Abraham...
“He was still undecided. It depended on how you thought of God. If God is nature, then God doesn't care, since nature doesn't care. But if, as the mystics understood, God is the best of man and within man, then God cares, since man does.” 2 likes
“And again the news offered no news: On CNN, a rerun of Larry King interviewing the widowed and the suffering. On CNN2, a rerun of Larry King interviewing a fatherless son. On CNN3, a rerun of Flight 11 flying toward the first tower, in slow motion. On CNN4, a rerun of the tower collapsing, in slow motion, and again the towers fell, again people jumped and died. On CNN5, a rerun of Larry King interviewing a motherless daughter, a daughterless father, interviewing the motherless, fatherless, wifeless, husbandless, childless, shameless--disgusted, Bill pressed POWER and beheaded King, exiled CNN, and the world went dark. They sat relieved in the silence and dark. Not much road traffic now, but somewhere in the distant overhead the honk and flap of southbound geese, instinct bound, in vees for victory. The turkey was still on the table; the sides were still out. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are tired come home.” 2 likes
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