Review: Does My Head Look Big In This by Randa Abdel-Fattah

does my head look big in this by randa abdel-fattah

When sixteen-year-old Amal decides to wear the hijab full-time, her entire world changes, all because of a piece of cloth…

Sixteen-year-old Amal makes the decision to start wearing the hijab full- time and everyone has a reaction. Her parents, her teachers, her friends, people on the street. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else.

Can she handle the taunts of “towel head,” the prejudice of her classmates, and still attract the cutest boy in school? Brilliantly funny and poignant, Randa Abdel-Fattah’s debut novel will strike a chord in all teenage readers, no matter what their beliefs.

Description taken from Goodreads.

A few years back, when Frozen first came out, Fandoms and Feminism did a post on the possible LGBT themes within Frozen. In the end, Rosie concluded that it’s easy to say that Elsa could easily be a metaphor for being gay, “but ultimately, Elsa isn’t the queer icon that [the community] deserves.”

The reasons are different, but that claim remains the same. Amal might be a Muslim heroine who decides to wear a hijab and be proud of her religion, and that’s great, but she isn’t the Muslim heroine that the community needs or deserves. This book isn’t the book about this topic that the community deserves.

So, in essence, what I’m saying is that even though people laud this book for what it’s about, what really matters is how it was executed, and it was executed incorrectly.

Amal is a whiny, cliché, angst-filled brat who feels more like a 13 year old than a 16 year old. She’s petty and she has next to none of the deep, real conflict that comes with deciding to do something such as wearing a hijab to school. Her actions feel contrived and forced, like something on a movie versus how something actually is in real life. I disliked her voice and she felt incredibly fake.

For me, Amal ruined this story. Sure, this is an important topic, but I disagree that the ideas are all that matter. I would maybe end up recommending this simply because I don’t know of any other story on this topic, but I’m still waiting for the book with a Muslim heroine that people deserve. 2 stars.

pg count for the hardback: 360


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