American Dervish (Akhtar)

This portrait of a family struggling with their religious beliefs and heritage was a compelling look into the idea that none of us fits into a perfect little box. I challenge any human to read a holy book cover to cover and agree wholeheartedly with every statement, as written, without interpretation.

Hayat’s upbringing demonstrates for us how difficult it is to be a member of an ethnoreligious group in a strange country. Not only is he faced with being a Pakistani-American, but he is also faced with the contradiction of parents who do not practice the Muslim-faith and have varying degrees of belief and/or respect for it. He is not raised in the faith, but is brought to it by a friend of his mother’s and even she has beliefs the religious leaders do not agree with. A very confusing time for this young man, but it makes for a compelling and thought-provoking read.

Do not be fooled by the talk of religion; this book is for those of us who hold religion dear, those who oppose it entirely and everyone in between. Both sides of the fence are represented here and in the great conflict, you can find yourself in the characters (who often can’t figure out which side of the fence they’re on either).

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