Monday, July 17, 2017

A Good Country by Laleh Khadivi

A Good Country by Laleh Khadivi was our June book club book. It's a novel chronicling the journey of a Muslim teenager from straight-A student to stoner surfer to religious radical. It raises questions about growing up as a minority in the United States, finding yourself, and how to prevent normal teenage mistakes from having horrific life-altering consequences.  In our book club we talked about how plastic we were as teenagers, flitting about from one philosophical idea to another with no stress we talked about how religious minorities sometimes become radicalized in response to being surrounded by a vocal majority, and we talked about how hard parenthood is. 

We didn't actually talk about this book much because the plot holes were just too much to ignore. The writing was lyrical, but honestly that same smooth rhythm nearly put me to sleep every time I picked up the book. So this is a book that is worthwhile because I think that tackling the issue of religious radicalism of vulnerable young people is brave and thought-provoking, but the writing itself could have used some cleaning up.

And the ending. I have mixed feelings on the ending. On one hand, I love that it's ambiguous in many ways. It's very true to life. On the other hand, it's so abrupt that I wonder if younger readers might not get the emotional impact that the unresolved ending provides.  I lean towards liking it, but I have some reservations.

So read it. I think it'll be a conversation starter and maybe that's all we need right now.

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