Monday, 3 July 2017

Book Review - The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters by Nadiya Hussain - Rachel Reads Randomly Book #67

Amazon UK
Title: The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters
Author: Nadiya Hussain
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Competition Wins
Publisher: HQ
Publication Date: 12th January 2017
Rating: 4 Stars

lThe four Amir sisters – Fatima, Farah, Bubblee and Mae – are the only young Muslims in the quaint English village of Wyvernage.

On the outside, despite not quite fitting in with their neighbours, the Amirs are happy. But on the inside, each sister is secretly struggling.

Fatima is trying to find out who she really is – and after fifteen attempts, finally pass her driving test. Farah is happy being a wife but longs to be a mother. Bubblee is determined to be an artist in London, away from family tradition, and Mae is coping with burgeoning Youtube stardom.

Yet when family tragedy strikes, it brings the Amir sisters closer together and forces them to learn more about life, love, faith and each other than they ever thought possible.

I really enjoyed this book, and found it gave me an interesting insight to a Bangladeshi family that lives in England, and its a fusion of Easts meets West. 

The Amir sisters are all very different people, and the narrative is split into all four of the sisters, for a chapter focusing on each at a time. The one thing they all have in common is they don't tell their parent's everything and all seem just a bit frustrated about how their brother appears to be the favourite at all times, despite being male. 

There is Fatima who is the eldest sister, she still lives at home, and is determined she may eventually pass her driving test. She also appears to be addicted to squeezy cheese, and isn't really sure of her own identity. Then there are twins Farah and Bubblee. Farah is married to Mo, and is the daughter to tries to do the most for her parents and her family, but she is hiding things from her family. Bubblee doesn't always see eye to eye anymore with Farah and lives in London, and is more of a feminist. Lastly there is Mae, the baby of the family, who is still at school but also is doing wonders with her social media project. Mae can always be found recording her family, at least until she posts something to her blog that takes off overnight! 

However when disaster hits for the family they all need to pull together and with it, so many secrets and shocks come out into the open over the course of the book. Some of them I was able to guess slightly ahead of time, but I still liked seeing how the sisters rose to various occasions. 

Their parents are rather traditional, and arguably stereotypical, especially when it comes to constantly trying to make sure their daughters get married or have children. Early on I noticed I was giggling quite often at the dialogue, and I really enjoyed reading a family experience that is so different in some respects to my own, but equally that I could see some big similarities with my own religion. 

This was a story that really spoke to me, and has some great messages within it. I am looking forward to getting stuck into other books by the real author of this book. 

Always tricky for me when you give me a tie, but since I have been tempted to read this pretty much since I won it, I had to pick this over The Waiting Game. My other reasoning was as this is a trade paperback that I have, it will take up slightly more space when I pack up my books to move house, so thought I would make it a bit easier on myself!

Rachel Reads Randomly will be back in September. 

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