There are good and bad things about this book. Let’s start with the good: Rebels by Accident does a great job of portraying Mariam’s paradigm shift between seeing Egypt and Egyptians as “backwards” and ultimately starting to identify herself as something more complex than “just American”.
I don’t actually remember exactly how I stumbled onto this book, but I’m so glad that I did. It’s my first Eggers book, and if you haven’t read him before either, it’s an excellent choice for a first experience.
The Perfect Gentleman is basically the story of what happens when a boy is raised by his immigrant parents to be “English”, but also doesn’t fit in as the same as everyone else in a lot of ways. And it’s also just the story of a boy growing up and struggling to find himself and what makes him happy. It’s universal and specific all at the same time, and it’s a great story.
I loved the personal narratives, but what really caught my attention in this book was the diversity of the experiences represented (including “mainstream” Muslim experiences as well as those of progressive and even LGBTQ-oriented Muslims).
This is me giving you fair warning: once you pick up The Sultan’s Wife, you’re going to have trouble putting it down.