Cori’s Pick: The Bad Muslim Discount by Syed Masood
The title is what initially caught my attention of this debut by Syed Masood, paired with the fact that the cover is gorgeous – yes, the librarian will indeed judge a book by its cover – no apologies. Per usual with books (and people) the contents far superseded the fancy cover.
The Bad Muslim Discount begins by following the lives of Anvar, a young man in Pakistan and Safwa, a young woman in Iraq. Both are fighting to overcome their circumstances, but in very different ways, and both end up in the United States, after very different journeys. Bargains are made, love is found and lives are lost as they navigate family and religious relationships that are at the core of what I really enjoyed about this book. Anvar’s mother provides some much needed comic relief in passages and exchanges that made me laugh out loud. However, the family dynamics are what kept me reading with dialogue that provided interesting insights to decisions and beliefs that seem incomprehensible to me.
Some of the reviews mention Safwa’s character being underdeveloped, but looking back I can’t help but wonder if that was an intentional move by the author. I’m still reeling a little over this book and that’s how I know it was something I’ve really enjoyed and will stay with me. Recommended!