Skip to main content

Book Review: Normal Calm by Hend Hegazi


Title: Normal Calm

Author: Hend Hegazi

Publisher: FB Publisher, Jan 1, 2014

Book Description:
Amina is an Arab American woman attending one of the best universities in the US. During the spring of her junior year, Amina is raped by one of her friends, making her essentially unmarriageable in the eyes of her parents and, possibly, the entire Arab community. When her mother experiences a nervous breakdown, Amina fears that she is to blame for her mother's condition. Eventually she falls in love with Sherif, but his reaction to her rape proves him to be unworthy. Deciding to forgo love, Amina focuses on her career. When her best friend introduces her to Mazin, however, she sees in him only good qualities. He is successful, kind, generous...but she feels no love for him. When Mazin asks for her hand in marriage, Amina struggles with the idea of settling for a man she does not love. Knowing that he, too, may abandon her when he learns of her rape is another burden she continues to bear.


Book Review:
This was a really good read despite it not being a book/genre I usually enjoy. The story touches on the subject of rape and how it is handled or viewed in Arab Muslim communities. Rape in general is viewed as "the woman's fault" in almost every culture but it is disturbingly so in Muslim communities because the responsibility of upholding ones dignity and honor is majorly placed on the woman. What is unfair about the practice is that it is not a religious thing. The Muslim faith places the responsibility equally and fairly on men and women to protect themselves and each other but somehow, somewhere, someone misinterpreted and placed it on women.

I enjoyed Normal Calm because Amina was/is a strong character. I loved that she stayed true to herself. Knowing the stigma placed on non-virgins, even rape victims, in her community, she did not allow the incident to change her character, her integrity when it came time to discuss marriage to potential partners.In all of her relationships, she was true to herself and those around, and that was her biggest asset, that is what strengthened her and her relationships.

I particularly enjoyed her friendship with Kayla, a non-Muslim friend she practically grew up with. The love, respect, tolerance and even humor they showed each other when it came to discussing religion, life, school, love and work, was refreshing. Amina found in Kayla a true friend, someone who listened with the intent to understand, not just respond. While Amina's family did eventually support and back her, Kayla was her rock in the beginning, when her life first fell to pieces.

There is still much needed discussions in our communities, discussions that will help heal, strengthen and finally put an end to the victim blaming society tends to do when a woman, girl, or child is raped or abused. Normal Calm opens that discussion, in my opinion, for the Muslim and Arab communities.

Comments

  1. Thank you for reviewing this book, which some Muslims might be hesitant to read.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very true. I think many Muslims want to bury their heads in the sand to avoid the issues raised in the book. But it is time to dust the sand away and reveal the troubles that plague our communities and heal those who have suffered far too long in silence.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: Sandcastels & Snowmen by Sahar El-Nadi

Title: Sandcastles and Snowmen

Author: Sahar El-Nadi

Publisher: FB Publishing House, June 1, 2013

Book Description:

What makes a successful woman indifferent to her faith and what draws her back to it to see the world in new way? Why would a smart woman-of-the-world choose to be a practicing Muslim who voluntarily wears a headscarf, commits to praying five times a day and fasting a full month each year? And how does that decision affect her public life and her international work?

Sandcastles and Snowmenexplores faith through the story of a woman on a personal journey to search for spirituality, leading her to reconnect with Islam in a new, global context in the turbulent post 9/11 world.

Review:
Sahar El-Nadi takes the open-minded reader on a true journey to explore and learn about Islam through her own spiritual journey of rediscovery. Born into an Egyptian Muslim family and culture, Sahar El-Nadi still went through a phase where religion was not the main focus of her life. Many young p…

Book Blog Tour: The Islamic, Adult Coloring Book by Theresa Corbin

About the Book: 
The second edition of The Islamic, Adult Coloring Book, published by Djarabi Kitabs Publishing, features sharper designs by Naafi Nut Rohma compiled and written by Theresa Corbin. The pages of The Islamic, Adult Coloring Book include detailed mosque architecture, calligraphy, tessellation, hadith (prophetic traditions), dua (supplication), Quranic verses, and quotes for Muslims to reflect on, to take time out of their rushed and hectic lives to recenter, refocus, and let their minds recharge, de-stress, and cultivate sabr (patience). Also, each coloring page has a corresponding descriptive page for the non-Muslim colorer who wants to learn a bit about Islam free from myth or judgment all while relaxing. In this way, The Islamic, Adult Coloring Book can be a great dawah tool.

Khadijah's Got Her Groove by F. A. Ibrahim

Title: Khadijah's Got Her Groove

Author: F. A. Ibrahim

Publisher: University Publications, Release Date: 11/15/2014

Book Description:
Khadijah Aziz, who only shoots for the stars, has running the perfect Muslim household under control. That was until a mysterious phone number from a woman named Saffron surfaces from her husband Raheem's pocket. Confused and distraught, Khadijah pushes the questionable number to the side and tries to maintain her grip on life as a slew of challenges arise in the relationships she holds most dear. With the threat of slipping, Khadijah struggles desperately to maintain her fascade, but inevitable change is already in motion. Putting family first isn't always easy. Will Khadijah lose everything she's worked for when escalating dilemmas leaves her life boiling like a volcano of issues of the heart, or will she push on to forge a new path for herself: choosing mastery over weakness, peace over strife, and love over fear?


About the Author:
Fatimah …