Title: Does My Head Look Big In This?
Author: Randa Abdel-Fattah
Narrator: Rebecca Macauley
Publication Year: 2005
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Audiobook downloaded free courtesy of Sync
From the cover:
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.
I have now officially read all three of Abdel-Fattah’s books, and I just keep on getting more impressed!
This novel starts as the protagonist, Amal, is making the decision to start wearing the hijab as a “full-timer” just before the new semester of school begins. A large portion of Does My Head Book Big In This? deals with Amal’s decision, her feelings, and the aftermath at school and in her everyday life, which I found really fascinating. The book also looks at issues of cultural assimilation, family/cultural traditions versus religious requirements, overbearing parents, interfaith dialogue, bullying, dating (or dealing with not dating, as the case may be), and so many other things. There’s just so much in here that it’s hard to give an accurate summary without giving too much away!
I found this book absolutely enthralling from start to finish. I wanted to know that everything would work out for Amal, as well as for her friends and neighbours. There were a couple surprise twists in the book, and it really helped to flesh the characters out! In other ways, Does My Head Look Big In This? was very much a typical teen novel, but with a hijabi girl – and the religious and cultural issues that come along with that – added into the mix.
This novel had slightly more of a humorous tone than Ten Things I Hate About Me, and way more than Where the Streets Had A Name. It was also probably the most obviously Aussie of the two books set in Australia, something that was reinforced by Macauley’s accented narration. Listening to the book read in an Australian accent, including slang words and the occasional properly pronounced Arabic word, really helped me to get into the novel.
I hope you’ll give this one a try. I definitely recommend it, for both young and old!
- 15/? for the World Religions Challenge
- 14/20 for the Audio Book Challenge
- 10/? for the Middle East Reading Challenge
- 16/? for the Ultimate Reviewers Challenge
You can find other posts in the series by clicking on the image to the right, or by taking a look at the schedule of posts and reviews.