Sisterhood

3 Sep

As I work my way through the Jacky Faber  audiobooks (I’m on #6 now and still loving the series) I can’t help but remark on how Jacky always refers to other girls as “sister”.  Sisterhood is a funny thing. This little ditty sums it up quite nicely.

I recently read  I Love, I Hate, I Miss My Sister  by Amélie Sarn, which was originally published in France, but has recently been translated into English and published in the US.

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This not as amusing a story as the Hanes’ sisters song. Based on real events in France, it tells the story of two girls of Algerian descent, Djelila and Sohane, born & raised in France. it skips back and forth in time to gently peel away the layers of the tragedy. Djelila wants to be French, playing basketball, staying out late, distancing herself from her family and their traditional views. Sohane is more traditional, but wants to be part of both worlds. She wants to go to college and get away from their tough predominantly Muslim neighborhood, but reads the Koran and goes to the mosque and thinks her younger sister should be more respectful. They love each other, but have such different world views and Sohane keeps a watch over her sister, trying to keep her safe from rough characters who bully her sister for her non-conformity. When Sohane decides to start wearing a head scarf, in spite of the recent passage of a law banning such things at public schools, Djelila supports her right to do so, but thinks she is misguided.

What I really liked about the book is that it doesn’t present each girls decision as right or wrong. The arguments for each side are laid out in a natural way and the reader can really see each side’s point of view. We often look at these issues in such a black and white way. This book shows us the grey and the hard choices people have to make when cultures collide.

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