March 29, 2010

BOOK TOUR: The Writing on My Forehead by Nafisa Haji

BOOK #: 15
CHALLENGES: TLC Book Tours, ARC Challenge, 100+ Challenge, Countdown Challenge, A to Z Challenge, New Authors Challenge, Women Unbound Challenge
PUBLISHER: Harper Perennial
GENRE: Women's Fiction, Literary Fiction,
FORMAT/PAGES: Paperback/306
RATING: 4 Stars

From the Book Cover:
From childhood, willful, intelligent Saira Qader broke the boundaries between her family’s traditions and her desire for independence. A free-spirited and rebellious Muslim-American of Indo-Pakistani descent, she rejected the constricting notions of family, duty, obligation, and fate, choosing instead to become a journalist, the world her home.
Five years later, tragedy strikes, throwing Saira’s life into turmoil. Now the woman who chased the world to uncover the details of other lives must confront the truths of her own. In need of understanding, she looks to the stories of those who came before—her grandparents, a beloved aunt, her mother and father. As Saira discovers the hope, pain, joy, and passion that defined their lives, she begins to face what she never wanted to admit—that choice is not always our own, and that faith is not just an intellectual preference.

As you can guess, the cultural meat in this book is so juicy and I love it. I love reading about other cultures and learning. It is just so interesting to me. I liked learning about Saira because she was the rebellious one, the black sheep, so to speak, and I am definitely that person in my own family.

But Saira's rebellious nature is not the only aspect I liked about her. I like the way Haji had Saira deal with the conflict between being both American and Indo-Pakistani. I like the way Saira and her sister, Ameena, are complete opposites, yet they are sisters to the end. I loved Big Nanima, who was a beloved great aunt of Saira. They were so much alike and I would have loved to have a Big Nanima in my younger years who could help me feel more confident in my being my own person and not caring so much what everyone else thinks and says. I identified with Saira when she lost a parent and I empathized when nearly everything she knew came to a dramatic halt and she had to change everything to acclimate.

I think Haji wrote a beautiful, passionate, and impressive first novel. There were times when Saira would go off on a tangent that was not necessarily helping the story to move along. But overall I thought it very well-written and a book I can recommend.

Author Nafisa Haji is an American of Indo-Pakistani decent, just as her character, Saira, is in the novel. She now lives in northern California with her husband and son, but maintains close ties to Pakistan, traveling there regularly. She is working on her second novel. Visit her website.

Thanks so much to Trisha and TLC Book Tours for including me on this book tour! Visit TLC Books to find the other bloggers on the book tour.


  1. This one has really caught my attention. I loved your thoughts on it and am always looking to expand my knowledge on other cultures. Will surely end up in my reading stacks one day!

  2. I love multi-cultural books, so I bet I'd like this one! Great review!

  3. Wendy's review first brought this book to my attention and piqued my interest. Now you've sold me on it!

  4. This does sound exactly like the kind of book you would like! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

  5. Glad you enjoyed this book! I have this one on my radar and plan to check it out!

  6. We definitely read this book the same way! Such a great look at other cultures.

  7. I love how authors can kind of put you inside a family while you're reading the book. That's one of my favorite things to read about in books, and from all the reviews I've read, Nafisa seems to do this effortlessly!

    Thanks for being on this tour!


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