*Disclosure of material collection- I received the book in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.
About the book-
It is 1995, and Anvar Faris is a restless, rebellious, and sharp-tongued boy doing his best to grow up in Karachi, Pakistan. As fundamentalism takes root within the social order and the zealots next door attempt to make Islam great again, his family decides, not quite unanimously, to start life over in California. Ironically, Anvar's deeply devout mother and his model-Muslim brother adjust easily to life in America, while his fun-loving father can't find anyone he relates to. For his part, Anvar fully commits to being a bad Muslim.
At the same time, thousands of miles away, Safwa, a young girl living in war-torn Baghdad with her grief-stricken, conservative father will find a very different and far more dangerous path to America. When Anvar and Safwa's worlds collide as two remarkable, strong-willed adults, their contradictory, intertwined fates will rock their community, and families, to their core.
The Bad Muslim Discount is an irreverent, poignant, and often hysterically funny debut novel by an amazing new voice. With deep insight, warmth, and an irreverent sense of humor, Syed M. Masood examines universal questions of identity, faith (or lack thereof), and belonging through the lens of Muslim Americans.
When I am looking for a debut novel, I always look for stories that will help me gain perspective on different types of people. I grew up in a household from the time I was a toddler with a Pakistani Muslim step dad, so sometimes I can relate maybe on a higher level to these types of stories than most white people can, but I also don't pretend that I know exactly how they feel, especially actual first generation immigrants so there is always something new I can learn, even in a culture I am familiar with. I absolutely loved this book. Parts of it were incredibly difficult to get through, not because it wasn't well written, because it was, but because of the content, but it was necessary to the story. We can't just brush over the challenges in life for the sake of a pretty novel wrapped up with a neat bow (I say this because I saw a review about this same novel being too difficult to read for sensitive readers. It is a story that needs to be told none the less). The main characters were all relatable, they were all fallible humans, struggling with living their lives, and that is something I think most adult people can relate to, even if not on the same drastic level as these characters. Anvar keep's the story moving as the character that ties everyone together and lightens things up with his humor which was much appreciated. I like that the story begins with Anvar in Pakistan and Safwa in Iraq during their earlier years. It really helps depict why the characters are the way they are. I thought this an excellent debut, and I look forward to more stories from the author in the future.