Interesting Read, happy to recommend
Title: A Mighty Collision of Two Worlds
Author: Safi Abdi
Line/Publisher 1st Books
ISBN: 1 4033 226 7 8
Interesting read … Happy to Recommend … 4.5 stars
Anisa is 15, living with her widowed mother and two little brothers on Rako Island when she overhears some of her family members discussing whether she should continue her studies. Anisa is a dedicated student, has little interest in marrying at her age and is aghast as she listens to her relatives planning her life for her. It is the opinion of Anisa’s Aunt Huda and Aunt Rahma that she should not. Anisa’s mother has other ideas.
Because Anisa does so well during the upcoming year she is offered a chance to go to the USA as an exchange student. Anisa’s mother who is supportive and wants her daughter to have the best possible education is at first put off by the notion, however, Anisa’s Uncle/stepfather intervenes and Anisa soon boards an airplane for flight to the US. The fellow students with whom she is studying at first put off Anisa. With their different notions of foods, attitudes and values they seem so different from what she knew at home.
It is while living in the USA that Anisa meets and marries a non-Muslim man. Mike converts to Islam before their marriage, but it does not take long before Anisa realizes that most likely Mike only converted in order to marry her. He is not really faithful to his new doctrine. At last Anisa decides to take her children and return home to Rako Island. What follows next is the crux of the tale. Mike and Anisa must decide how and what to do in order to best care for themselves and their children.
I enjoyed reading this book. Writer Abdi is a Dubai housewife recently taken to writing. In A Mighty Collision of Two Worlds she presents a nice, sprightly, highly readable writing style centering on the inevitable conflict inherent in every marriage. These conflicts are compounded with the diverse backgrounds of the two participants. The story of Mike and Anisa and the problems they face are as old as mankind. When two people from differing backgrounds meet and marry confusion, disagreement and misunderstanding are sure to follow.
Writer Abdi has crafted an absorbing and entertaining work filled with just enough local background to draw the writer into the narrative. Abdi’s Rako Island milieu is filled with points of interest, resonance and redolence to bring the reader right into the tale. I could picture the sea, the streets and various players as I read. Foods, dress, prayer times are all introduced with deft skill in this nicely crafted work. I particularly enjoyed learning something of both Muslim daily life and religious tenets as I read Abdi’s work. Writer Abdi manages to convey many of her own values in a subtle, non-preachy fashion that readers should find appealing.
A Mighty Collision of Two Worlds allows the reader a peek into a society that might be otherwise unknown. I found it refreshing to learn that we are not all so very different from one another. Various ethnic groups within American society take care of their relatives, in different manner perhaps than brother marrying his sibling’s widow. And while polygamy is no longer allowed here in the US, extended families abound in both cultures. Foods and dress are often ‘bones of contention’ for those who do not understand the culture of others. Reading of Anisa’s ‘raisin and carrot’ salad brought a smile to my lips. The girl entertained the same grumbly thoughts expressed by my own children when I, as Anisa’s mom set the bowl on the table for the same reasons held by Anisa’s mother Fatima. I too believe carrots aid the eyesight.
The one disagreement I might have with the writer is that her main character Anisa appears to have met no one in college or elsewhere in the US who held as strong religious beliefs, whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish or other as held by herself. There are so many living here in the US who are very steeped in their own religion that for Anisa to never met one is hard to fathom.
Some minor language issues for the American reader are easily resolved.
A Mighty Collision of Two Worlds is a good book for a quiet afternoon, happy to recommend.
Reviewed by: molly martin