So I’m in my neighborhood book club. Basically each month we’ve been reading books I typically wouldn’t have read or didn’t grow up reading. I grew up reading Harry Potter as well as Ronald Dahl in addition to the likes of Islamic books or also 1001 Nights. As I grew up, those books have always stuck with me, but also adding others such as Paulo Coelho or Khaled Husseini. The books we read, the movies we watch are a part of our identity. This could be why some of the books I’ve read in book club I can’t relate to. They weren’t a part of my experience Atleast not totally. Some of the books may reflect what I grew up learning in school. That’s the other thing about identity, books at school weren’t anything like what I read at home, 1001 Nights being the perfect example.
Sometimes when I’m in book club I kind of dread the book I’m going to read because it’s completely out of my comfort zone as an adult reader of culture and spirituality. In fact I’m still confused as to what book I’m going to pick because I know it will be out of their comfort zone.
I’m debating between Paulo Coelho or Robert Galbraith (aka Jk Rowling or Trevor Noah.It’s taken me quite some time to finish this blog post because a lot has happened between now and when I started it. I’m having one of those moments where I’m realizing I shouldn’t have read the book so early because I thought I would forget it or have to wait too long til we meet.
Anyway, the book we are reading is called, “Before We Were Yours” by Lisa Wingate. This book was actually pretty good. Not something I would’ve normally picked up. It’s also not for the faint of heart. It’s interesting because it’s actually based off a true story not far from where I live. This woman basically set up a child trafficking business selling kids into adoption. It was pretty bizarre reading about it. For one thing it made me sad because literally anything about child abuse or abandonment or kidnapping sets me on a crying frenzy. I like books that make me laugh and cry. There wasn’t much laughing in this book. If you’re into this sort of thing about stories based off true events (I am, just not sad ones) then this book is for you.
Throughout the book, simply to keep my sanity and not be sad the whole time, I related it to something I’m good at-identity. It got me thinking all about the Islamic view on adoption. In this book, the kids’ names were changed, their name is their identity and that was basically stripped from them. In the Islamic form of fostering a kid, we aren’t allowed to do that and it makes sense. I mean, there’s so much in a name and identity. Just this past weekend I went to a wedding where the groom was a white convert and my parents went on and on about how he didn’t change his name, typical desi thinking. In my head I’m like he doesn’t actually have to unless his name meant something outside of an Islamic belief. Same thing for adopted kids. I guess I just didn’t like how their identities were driven out of them. That also made me sad along with the rest of it.
See what I mean on having to read books I can relate to? I can even think of something related to me in books I never would’ve thought to have read. I’m hoping this Ramadan I can do some more reading and writing.