A story about an English orphan girl adopted into the Sufi Islam tradition. Well written and detailed the book tracks the main character, Lilly, through many transitions between girl and woman, "even in a traditional headscarf, Lilly is always marked as a foreigner" (from the books synopsis)
I enjoyed this story as I always enjoy stories that take me on a meandering path toward growth and enlightenment. It revealed a struggle that I am unfamiliar with in a fascinating style and I would recommend it any anyone. We read it for our "Walk around the World" book group.
I've been rather disappointed and harsh with other popular books that seemed overly encumbered with wordiness...like the Book Thief. But here I found that I was so engrossed in the story itself, that I didn't care. The prose had a nice atmosphere. The main character was intriguing. I wanted to know how it would end. Historical details were nicely done. The atrocities were, well, atrocious...particularly in their casual simplicity. Most importantly, the characters went beyond stereotype and became real people. Some of my favorite quotes might come from this book, if I could only remember them whole.
Need more? A flower child is dragged around Africa by her parents and left in Morocco at their death. She spends the rest of her life outcast and alone, though part of the greater community. Her upbringing by a Sufi, provides the foundation she was lacking from her parents...and a basis for how she leads her life. She has an incredible, loving spirit; she endures. The setting is the Ethiopian upheaval/war/exodus... The story brings you full circle, back to London, and eventually brings this woman to a hopeful future (instead of living in/with the past).
I especially appreciate the contrasting viewpoints...the ability to see things from different perspectives...and even discuss them.
For me personally, the idea of mutilating children...is unbearable in the thought alone. I hated being exposed to it, but the author at least brought to the forefront how it is not part of the Islamic religion and how many Muslims are against it. Let us never forget that the individuals deserve their own consideration...who they are and how they act or contribute to society, even it different.
As an American, I will forever be judged by the likes of 'the actor President' Reagan and 'the condemnations' of Bush. But never have I condoned or participated in what they represent! And neither do most of the people 'we' are abusing and killing overseas. It doesn't matter who is committing the atrocity...it's still wrong. And standing up for what is right does not have to involve or include violence. Even if my right and your right are different.