A Very Large Expense Of Sea
Review by Sidra Javed
I picked this book randomly off the shelf. Never read Tahereh Mafi before, but as I started reading it was hard to put it down. I over read my 30 minutes strict rule with this one. The story is very simple and characters are straightforward. But then the story is one thing and the treatment of it is another. The writer did treat it amazingly.
Shirin is a highschool student whose parents migrated from Iran in search of a better future in America. Shirin and her brother Navid forced to lead two lives. They have to adjust to a different culture, life style, values and norms outside of their home to better fit among peers. While they portray a true Iranian at heart holding the values and norms dearly at home to satisfy parents.
Her brother Navid is doing a better job at this. While Shirin is being cages inside her ownself. She becomes increasingly bitter and isolated. Being a hijabi which she refuses to let go is a big hurdle as well. After 9/11 the situation becomes even worse. Once the bullying becomes increasingly brutal, her parents start moving from city to city in search of a more tolerant neighbourhood.
Shirin spends her time hiding in bathrooms or libraries of schools. She finds her way among bullies. The way she handles situation is very inspiring.
She accepted that people will always look at her with certain bias. She realizes that there is terrorist slogan pasted on her forehead. However she embraces her loneliness wholeheartedly. Ultimately she cuts off the outside noise under loud music blasting from her headphones. There is occasional relief as well in the form of break dancing clud she joins with her brother and his friends. One such ray of hope is Ocean James . His kindness and persistence slowly wins her over.
Although its all exhilarating yet Shirin is very much aware of the hurdles between them. She has a clear idea how this will end. She is very open and practical in her approach. This makes me wish all teenagers had this clarity of approach.
Although the setting is highschool the topics, Tahereh touched very serious issues which are relatable to all. Racism and it’s impact, parenting styles that make or break children and generation gap. Above all the true essence of love that brings out the best in you even if it’s fleeting. Absolutely loved the way Shirin defends being a hijabi. Her outlook towards life is new and refreshing. This book A Very Large Expense Of Sea took my heart. I totally recommend it.
Previous review by Sidra Javed is عشق عبودیت