Bestest.Ramadan.Ever. Book review

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So when I googled books about Ramadan under my library search catalog this came up.

Bestest.Ramadan.Ever.

Written by: Medeia Sharif who blogs at http://www.medeiasharif.com

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Flux; Original edition (July 8, 2011)

Summary: It’s about a highschooler Almira who is struggling with her weight. The last Ramadan she ‘cheated’ by eating during the day and got busted by her grandfather when he noticed brownie crumbs on her lipglossed lips. This year she gives it her all and manages to successfully fast the entire Ramadan. However, there are a few glitches. She likes a boy called Peter. Only problem is her best friend Lisa likes Peter too. Long story short, Almira loses weight in Ramadan and gets more attention from boys; Peter ends up liking Almira back. They become boyfriend-girlfriend. Lisa, her best friend, gets over Peter. On Eid Day Almira and her new Muslim friend Shakira go to the beach in their bikinis. Everyone is happy.

Pros: I think the story was well written, a smooth easy read. Reminded me of a chick flick. Reading this story, I remembered how self-conscious highschoolers are.  Sharif did a great a job getting into the mind of a hungry, self-conscious highschooler. Almira’s self-deprecating humor and honest tone of voice were a refreshing read.

Cons: With that being said, I have issues with the too-happy-ending-plot and character. I wish Almira had been stronger to stick to what she believed in, and to know that fasting in the month of Ramadan doesn’t consist of abstaining from food and drink only. When Peter makes a move, Almira doesn’t turn him down, even though technically she is fasting.

“Not only does my body feel right, but my spirit does, too. I feel light and happy. For our South Beach excursion I plan on wearing a cute pink dress, with a pink bathing suit underneath if the water is calm enough to swim in. This will be a Miami Eid for me, after all” – Almira.

Quote:

“Do you ever wonder what your life would be like if you grew up in the Middle East?” – Shakira.

“Sometimes I think about what would have happened if my mom’s and dad’s parents never came here. They all came for the same reason, for the freedom, for the opportunities, because of different wars or threats of war going on. Can you really picture it if they never came here? we’d be living over there. We would have no boyfriends. We couldn’t wear our short skirts. The town gossips and family friends would bully us into obeying them.” – Almira.

“But I’m glad that they came here . I like the way I live, even though my family can be strict.” – Almira

“I know what you mean.” Shakira

 

My main issues with the book is the religious aspect. If a Non-Muslim reads this book, I would want them to know that Muslims vary and that their actions aren’t the most Islamic. For example, the typical Eids I’ve experienced are when we wear colorful shalwar kameezes and hijabs and go to the mosque. Almira’s Eid differs from mine in that hers involve beaches and bikinis.

Quote I thought was overly much/sappy when Lisa realizes Almira should date Peter:

“Almira I know what I’m saying,” she insists, tears streaming from her eyes. You two belong together. You look cute together. And Almira, think about your family. They don’t want you to have a boyfriend or to date. Chances are slim that you’ll have a boyfriend, even if you keep him a secret from them. This is your chance. You deserve that chance. You found what you wanted and I can’t take that away from you.” – Lisa.

I thought the story had too much of a happy ending for Almira. I also didn’t like that she got a boyfriend when she lost weight. On a side note, why couldn’t she get one at a heavier weight? The story was too superficial for me, but such is highschool life. I just wished Almira had embraced her faith more. I found a review online that didn’t like this story that I can relate with:

“This is one of the few books that I have ever truly disliked. The main character I found to be much too whiny, and she labeled herself a Muslim even though the majority of the things she did throughout the book were not so Islamic. I’ll admit that some Muslims are like this, but the majority was greatly misrepresented. If you’re looking for a good read about Muslims, check out Does My Head Look Big In This it’s way better!”  – Lurch

Looking forward to reading this book below, and thinking I should just stick to picture book reviews!

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About Doodling Through Life

I doodle. All the time. Doodling helps me make sense of the world around me. When I doodle, whether it be swirls or figurines, I am transformed to a world in which my doodles live, and my thoughts become clear. My mind breathes. Through my art medium of pencils, paint, potting soil, and pixels, I thrive. I am a teacher and have taught 2nd grade in Fulton County Schools in Atlanta, Georgia for 4 years. I am currently a Stay-At-Home-Mommy to a ___ daughter (she was born in June 2010—you can do the math !) and a ___ preschooler (she was born November 2012) who is exploring my creative outlet via the aforementioned 4 P’s! So far, I’m an author whose book Lailah’s Lunchbox was published in 2015 via Tilbury House Publishing. I’m an Atlanta based children-family-lifestyle photographer on weekends. Thank you for stopping by!

2 responses »

  1. Ive read Does My Head Look Big In This?, and though it certainly does represent Muslims better than this book, it doesnt by much. The main character, Amal, is pretty whiny too, whereas Islam teaches gratitude no matter how dire the circumstances are. Plus she thinks that praying five times a day is a huge deal, when thats just the very basic requirement!
    But then this is just a personal opinion from someone who expects far more from strong faith than many others would. Feel free to give the book a read and keep up the awesome reviews 🙂

    Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2013 03:24:09 +0000
    To: raweeha@hotmail.com

    • Thanks Raweeha. I wish there were more books with more substance on this topic. Anyways will read the book and keep up the reviews. I enjoyed your blog and will keep reading it :). It’s fun discovering the world of Muslim children’s books.

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