Monday, May 13, 2013

Book Review: Road To Madina by Alaa Alghamdi

I hate how busy I have been lately. I don't have time to read any good books anymore. Reading used to be something that I really enjoyed but lately I haven't really had the chance. Boo. However, I recently got the chance to review the book "Road To Madina" by Alaa Alghamdi. When I heard the book's description, I was really interested:

Set in Madina, Saudi Arabia and Leeds, U.K, the novel tells the story of a young Saudi woman, Maryam, who somewhat reluctantly decides to pursue postgraduate studies in Leeds. Her hesitation stems from the fact that she is a devout and traditional person, deeply dedicated to her Muslim faith, and is initially ambivalent about leaving the world she has always known. However, encouraged by her mother, an academic who also studied and lived in the West, she ventures to this new place and encounters both enriching experiences and a sense of displacement. Her sojourn in the West leads to a new set of decisions to be made. The novel follows Maryam from the age of 22, when she is deciding to apply to study in Leeds, to her eventual return to Saudi Arabia several years later.

I have to say that this book was really interesting to me. I am a little older than Maryam in the story, but I really connected with her character and found her to be a great inspiration. I also really love to read about different cultures and connect with different ways of life than my own, and this book really gave me a lot of insight into what life is like on the other side of the world.

This was a really great story, about a girl, nervous, shy and afraid, who turns into a young woman in a relatively short period of time. It was kind of like a coming of age story. I really grew to like Maryam and want the best for her during this story. I was proud when she made good choices, and cringed when she made different ones than I would have made, but I always wanted her to succeed. This was a great book and I think it is a perfect beach or poolside read for Summer! I highly recommend it!

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