Sana's Reviews > A Very Large Expanse of Sea

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
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Okay, I just read this note by Mafi and I just really love how she much of her actual life experiences that she incorporated into the book. Ahhh can't wait for this to finally be out (and for me to reread it). ONE WEEEEEK

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Feels strange to have read the book first and then seen the cover... I don't even know what I was expecting it to look like but I like that it's white and really, I feel like this totally fits and hides all the heartache quite well

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'It never stops hurting. It only gets easier to recover.'*

I have highlighted more than of this half of this book, I have a hundred thoughts, I am completely floored and I need a minute or a year to process everything. Like this book really highlights so well what it's like and how it feels to be a Muslim woman in the world today. It doesn't only check the racists and the haters but also Muslims themselves judging other Muslims and forgetting that no one is a saint, that there's no such thing as practicing pure Islam and that we're all stumbling along the same path.

Yet what it does best is point out microaggressions that somehow turn into macroaggressions and full-on racism and what's left in the wake of them. It shows the effects, the aftermath and the self-actualization that probably wouldn't have happened for Shirin if not for Ocean. It shows what it does to a person to get the brunt of hate day in and day out.

'I was so raw from repeated exposure to cruelty that now even the most minor abrasions left a mark. The checkout lady at the grocery store would be rude to me and her simple unkindness would unnerve me for the rest of the day because I never knew—I had no way of knowing—
Are you racist? Or are you just having a bad day?
I could no longer distinguish people from monsters.
I looked out at the world around me and no longer saw nuance. I saw nothing but the potential for pain and the subsequent need to protect myself, constantly.
Damn, I thought.
This really was exhausting.'*


And then it shows what happens to people who choose to side with such people only to also find themselves at the front-end of such hate especially in a narrow-minded community like Shirin's

'I tried to tell him that the bigots and the racists had always been there, and he said he'd honestly never seen them like this, that he never thought they could be like this, and I said yes, I know. I said that's how privilege works.'*

Shirin is this angry asshole who's 100% done with everything. Her source of strengths are her brother with whom she has a great dynamic, intense love for breakdancing that I couldn't get enough reading about and parents that are as Asian as they come. I have so much love for their family dynamics and how the little white lies about praying (heh) and all the things about Ramadan being too relatable LOL.

All I have to say right now is A Very Large Expanse of Sea is a narrative that hasn't been done this well in all the own voices books that at least I've read so far. It's written so beautifully and simply and still manages to swallow you whole, chew you to the bone and spit you out cold. 10/10 would recommend the heartache

P.S. Can you tell that I really tried to hold back on the quotes? I really did. Also, I'm pretty sure I have a hole in my chest after reading this and you will, too.

Favorite quotes: 'Part of me felt a little like I'd died. But here, in the silent explosion of my heart, was a quiet that felt familiar.'*

'So many times, I thought, I'd tried to draw a line in the sand, and I was never strong enough to keep it there.'*

(I promise I'll try and write a proper review when it's time to post one and pretty sure I'm gonna reread it by then, too. I mean, I haven't even said much about Ocean which is probably a crime and needs to be rectified as soon as possible)

*Quotes taken from the eARC and may change upon publication

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'I always knew I had to write this book. This is my story, the story I've been writing in my head for years. When I first started pursuing publication, I think I really wanted to establish myself as an author first, an author who could write anything. I didn't want to shove myself into another box; I wanted to have the freedom to write fantasy novels and paranormal romances and science fiction and whatever I wanted, because I'm a person with diverse interests. I don't only think about being Muslim and Middle Eastern all day every day. I didn't want my identity to be tied to my struggle. People of color are more than just our struggle, we also laugh, we also love, we also have complex, fulfilling lives. That was important for me.'

Yeah, I'm gonna read this because of that answer alone.

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Reading Progress

February 22, 2018 – Shelved
February 22, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read-so-bad-it-hurts
June 14, 2018 – Started Reading
June 14, 2018 – Shelved as: anti-library
June 14, 2018 – Finished Reading
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: absolute-favorites
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: to-reread-the-fuck-out-of
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: 10-10-would-recommend
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: a-love-like-this
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: arcs
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: characters-who-are-everything-to-me
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: disaster-the-opposite-of-aster
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: feeling-the-aster
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: girls-make-everything-better
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: fucking-shit-up
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: lady-bosses-in-charge
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: let-me-give-you-a-hug-or-a-100
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: lgbtqiap-plus-characters
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: make-my-otp-endgame-already
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: mom-goals
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: my-kind-of-asshole
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: rep-re-sent
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: read-in-2018
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: reread-because-reasons
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: siblings-till-the-end-of-the-world
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: sisters-in-battle
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: such-despicable-characters
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: such-relatable-characters
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: teary-feelsplosion
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: terrible-people-do-terrible-things
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: the-romance-is-going-places
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: these-family-dynamics
June 19, 2018 – Shelved as: why-is-everyone-so-mean

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Warda I love that answer so much!


Sana Warda wrote: "I love that answer so much!"

Right, it's so uplifting!


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