Adventures in Reading

Fiction: A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar
October 4, 2008, 1:34 pm
Filed under: book reviews, fiction | Tags: , , , , ,

“Mama liked to say you could never judge how people might have turned out. For her–aforementioned superstitionist par excellence–if things hadn’t happened exactly the way they’d happened, one out of three people involved would invariably be dead.”

Is it too late to add Randa Jarrar’s A Map of Home to my list of best books of 2008? You say no? Well add it to the list! I could not put this book down (even interrupting my Bram Stoker reading) and dare I just come out and say Jarrar is lovely, fun, and brilliant and I hope she’s working on another novel/collection of short stories soon?

A Map of Home at its simplest is a coming of age story. But like the story the protagonist Nidali tells of her big bosomed aunts putting rocks on their chests to squash their massive breasts, the book also explores the staggering pressures of multi-ethnic ancestry, a world that demands much of gender, being positioned between parent’s wants and desires, and trying to find your identity within an ever changing landscape. And like the breasts, Nidali is not squashed by these trappings as Jarrar easily moves her character into adulthood.

Jarrar comfortably deals with sensitive and frightening issues, but she also never loses her sense of humor. And it’s the honest and funny narrative that appealed to me as a reader. The depth and complexities of the novel are almost casually added as Nidali and her family are always in the forefront.

Visit the author at rockslinga.

Conclusion: Keeper.

Other opinions: Book Addiction.


Ohhh–sounds good! I love coming of age stories (well, most anyway) and what a great cover. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention!

Comment by Trish

Trish: I could not put it down. Especially if you’re into coming-of-age stories, this is one I’d strongly recommend.

Comment by bookchronicle

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