Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Book Review: "The Bad Muslim Discount" by Syed M. Masood

The Bad Muslim Discount, the new novel by Syed M. Masood, is a funny, emotionally searing, and thought-provoking look at the experience of Muslim immigrants in the U.S.

“There is no true measure of pain. Each hurt is unique, and even small wounds can bleed a lot.”

Anvar Faris and his family live in Pakistan until fundamentalism becomes more prevalent and his father moves them to California. His devout mother, for whom Anvar’s sarcasm and nonchalance toward their religion is a constant source of frustration, and his older brother, who always does the right things, quickly adjust to life in America. Anvar decides he’ll do everything he can to be a bad Muslim.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, Safwa, a young woman, is living a life full of grief, violence, guilt, and anger. When circumstances grow ever-more dangerous, she must make an untenable bargain in order to get her and her father to America. It is a necessary but dangerous agreement.

When Anvar and Safwa’s lives intersect in the mid-2010s, both are struggling in different ways. But how they choose to survive—and depend on one another to do so—will have powerful repercussions on their lives and those they care about.

This book was so powerful and unforgettable, an amazing look at relationships, family obligations, religion, prejudice, love, pain, and salvation. I was so moved at times and at others I laughed out loud. The characters Masood created, even the supporting characters, were so appealing and memorable.

Thanks to my friend Louis, a fellow Bookstagrammer, for reading The Bad Muslim Discount with me. It’s always fun to discuss books with you, and to find one we both loved that didn’t depress us!!

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