Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ten Things I Hate About Me

Ten Things I Hate About Me is written from a perspective I've never encountered before--an Australian Lebanese-Muslim teen. Jamilah has a double identity. At home she lives a traditional and highly structured life with her strict father and older siblings. At school, she is Jamie, a blonde (thanks to hair dye) and blue-eyed (thanks to contact lenses) girl who will do anything to hide her ethnicity and become more popular.

This dual personality is a balancing act which prevents her from being truly comfortable with anyone. Enter her new email buddy, with whom she can finally be honest. You can probably guess how that storyline ends.

What I appreciated most about this novel was the insight into the life of a Lebanese-Australian family. Author Randa Abdel-Fattah sprinkles facts throughout the novel which broadened my knowledge of the culture. While obviously heightened to propel the plot, it was interesting to learn about the cultural tensions that could exist in an Australian high school. For example, people from New Zealand experienced a lot more prejudice than I expected.

There were a few instances of sloppy writing that took me out of the story. At one point, the descriptor "bottle green" was used twice in as many pages. Also, multiple scenes end with Jamilah storming from the room in tears. While this may be typical teenage behavior, it felt more like lazy writing and a lack of direction.

Minor complaints aside, Ten Things I Hate About Me is a novel that will appeal to many female readers and is worth checking out.

2 comments:

  1. I also enjoyed this book. I was fascinated by the glimpses into that region and culture as well. I also read her Does My Head Look Big in This? I wrote about it here in case you want to know more about that book. http://mrsvsreviews.blogspot.com/2009/04/does-my-head-look-big-in-this.html

    I wonder if she has anything else out now -I'll be off to check...

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  2. Interesting - I read Randa's "Does My Head Look Big In This?" one summer when it was required reading for my 8th graders going into high school. I thought it would spark some great discussion in the classroom, but wasn't super excited to read more of her work... Did you know she's a lawyer, in addition to being an author? I just thought that was an interesting bit of author trivia :)

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