Rating: 5 stars
“And for those who bear the brunt of hate because of the color of your skin or the sound of your name, for those who are spat upon, for those who are told to “go home,” when you are home: you are known. You are loved. You are enough. Let your light shine. I wrote this book for you.”
– Samira Ahmed
Love, Hate & other Filters follows the story of a 17-year-old Indian- Muslim girl, Maya who is currently residing in America with her parents. She dreams to go to NYU to major in film studies. Her parents, however, are of different opinion. They don’t want her to go far off and wants her to attend a college in Chicago, become a lawyer and marry a ‘suitable’ boy. She succeeds in convincing her parents to attend NYU until a terrorist attack at the Federal Building in Springfield which alters her life completely. She shares the same name as the suspected terrorist for which she is harassed at school more than once. Even mob attacks his father at his clinic.
It is a beautiful tale of a young girl finding courage and strength to stand up for herself and make a choice between attending community college and going to NYU after the terrorist attack.
In the end, we saw Maya at NYU looking forward to meeting her parents on Thanksgiving at her aunt Hina’s house. The story ends with the following lines which I found to be the most beautiful end I’ve ever read.
“The sky darkens as people brush by the girl. Her green scarf flutters on the screen as the over-cranked motion eventually slows around her. She turns to smile at the camera overhead, the vibrant resonance of new York swelling, as the edges of the frame fade to black.”
I loved almost every character, especially Hina and Maya’s friends violet, Kareem and Phil. They help her go through a difficult phase of her life. The book is written in a simple and less detailed style which is beautiful in its own way. I feel the best thing about contemporaries is that it doesn’t need a detailed world building. It should only deliver the message and impact lives.
“As we walk down the hall, I have the distinct sense that we’re leaving a tiny, crumbling world behind us. We step outside into the brash light of another world I can’t possibly understand.”
The entire community shouldn’t be blamed for the acts of few. Finding ways to fight terrorism must be given more consideration rather than finding ways to blame a community.
I would also like to mention a point I read in a review. Kareem drinking wine and Maya freaking over it isn’t a big deal. It is unusual for Muslims to drink alcohol.
I loved everything about this book, from the plot to characters and the writing. Being an Indian-Muslim the story and characters reflected beautifully on me and I found myself in it. The topic of Islamophobia, its cause and effect is vivid and not exaggerated. In this world of growing terrorism, Muslims are the first target whether guilty or not. Hence it was brilliant Samira Ahmed for to come up with so important topic of discussion for youths.
This is a very important book in the world of growing terrorism, Islamophobia and political tension and everyone should read it. I loved the book and I’m looking forward to reading more of her books.
“We must build bridges, conquer hate with love, and meet intolerance with a renewed commitment to education and open-mindedness. From many, we are one.”
Do let me know your thoughts in the comments below. And if you have a review of it on your site, feel free to leave a link.