All My Rage — A Review
Review by Nana Aisha Ahmed aka Umm Bilal
All My Rage is a beautiful story of love, loss, grief, the struggle to fit in, responsibility, truth, trauma, peer pressure, addiction, and abuse. In short, it is a story of life. Tahir painted a beautiful picture with her words. It was in her description of grief, love, food even. I felt like I bore witness to the scenes she painted with her words. Like I was there beside Misbah, like I could say something to Jesse to stand up for Noor, like I could see the inner demons Abu was fighting.
The book follows the lives of two friends, Salahuddin and Noor who want more. Who have been through a lot they hope that their adulthood will be much easier because their childhood was so different. They both face their different challenges, but the challenges always find a way to weave connect them or is it separate them?
Noor’s family was killed in an earthquake in Pakistan and was brought to the United States by her uncle. She attended school one day and met Salahuddin, and something connected them.
The chapters alternate between the point of views of Noor and Salahuddin as well as Misbah. She was Salauddin’s biological mother who was someone important for Noor too. The story revealed a lot about her early life and how she lived in Pakistan before she moved to the United States and how life has changed so much.
It is a love story but not in a cheesy romantic type of way. It is a story about love tested in so many different ways because life happens to you or maybe it is for you? It is a story of home and how it is more than a place, it is a person, a feeling or even a song sometimes. It is a story about bullying and trying so hard to just fit in and no matter what you do you always seem to stand out and makes you wonder what the American dream is worth. It is a story about trauma and how the body remembers. It is the story of health and what it looks like not just physically but mentally too. It is a story of emotions, love, anger, rage and how sometimes they can co-exist at the same time. It is a story of friendship and how that can change over time. It is a story of hope, and how important it is for us to just keep going or fighting for whatever it is that we want.
Tahir has a way in her narrating that is amazing and towards the end of the book, the tone of the writing changed like they were more confessional or was it just showing growth and responsibility of the characters. I felt like I grew with them. I was rooting for them even when they made wrong choices because I understood them, they were just trying to do their best with the knowledge they had. I loved it. I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading this and I am glad I did.
Some of my favorite quotes are:
“I wonder what it’s like to be with someone who can love you through your rage.”
I’m Salahuddin. Sal.”
“’Sal’? No way … You make people call you by your name. If they can say Santiago, Alexander, Demetrius, and Ecclesiastes, they can say Salahuddin.”
Who my child becomes is not the sum of what happened to him.”
Fofky's Book Club:
Look out for a book discussion of the book with members of the book club insha'Allah.