book review: all my rage by sabaa tahir


Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Format:

Physical book + Audio Book

Page Count:

384

Release Date:

03.01.2022

Genre:

Young Adult Contemporary


synopsis.


Lahore, Pakistan. Then. 
Misbah is a dreamer and storyteller, newly married to Toufiq in an arranged match. After their young life is shaken by tragedy, they come to the United States and open the Cloud’s Rest Inn Motel, hoping for a new start.

Juniper, California. Now. 
Salahudin and Noor are more than best friends; they are family. Growing up as outcasts in the small desert town of Juniper, California, they understand each other the way no one else does. Until The Fight, which destroys their bond with the swift fury of a star exploding. 

Now, Sal scrambles to run the family motel as his mother Misbah’s health fails and his grieving father loses himself to alcoholism. Noor, meanwhile, walks a harrowing tightrope: working at her wrathful uncle’s liquor store while hiding the fact that she’s applying to college so she can escape him—and Juniper—forever.

When Sal’s attempts to save the motel spiral out of control, he and Noor must ask themselves what friendship is worth—and what it takes to defeat the monsters in their pasts and the ones in their midst. 

From one of today’s most cherished and bestselling young adult authors comes a breathtaking novel of young love, old regrets, and forgiveness—one that’s both tragic and poignant in its tender ferocity.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir comes a brilliant, unforgettable, and heart-wrenching contemporary YA novel about family and forgiveness, love and loss, in a sweeping story that crosses generations and continents.

(Goodreads)


trigger warnings.


  • Alcoholism
  • Bullying
  • Death
  • Drug addiction
  • Islamophobia
  • Physical abuse
  • Racism

thoughts.

(spoilers ahead!)


the writing

The writing was absolutely beautiful. This was not exactly a surprise, given that I’m familiar with Sabaa Tahir’s previous work, but it was really special to see how that style carried across genres, from fantasy to contemporary.

“I wonder what it’s like to be with someone who can love you through your rage.” 

Sabaa Tahir, All My Rage

multiple pov.

I really loved the way this book was told through the perspectives of Sal, his mother, and Noor. The perspective of Misbah (Sal’s mother) felt especially unique, especially for a story about a South Asian immigrant family, in that it provided more familial, generational, and cultural context than is usually found in the typical immigrant child experience story. Additionally, it felt like just the right amount of time was spent within each character’s perspective, and I thoroughly enjoyed the distance voices and pacing of the perspective changes.

“Rage can fuel you. But grief gnaws at you slow, a termite nibbling at your soul until you’re a whisper of what you used to be.” 

Sabaa Tahir, All My Rage

the (broken) american dream

One of this book’s central themes was an analysis of the American Dream from the lens of those who it is not built for; in this case, poor immigrant families of color. From the experiences of the characters in the novel, it becomes apparent (if it was not already) who this dream is built for, and how much of a false illusion it is for those it is not. Racism of course plays a very significant role in this, as is seen in the interactions between the characters and their peers at school, as well as with the police.

“She was not of my body or my blood, this child. But she was of my soul.” 

Sabaa Tahir, All My Rage

found family.

I loved the relationship between Noor and Misbah, and the underlying message that the people you are related to by blood are not always the ones who you should be around and rely on–or the ones who truly love you. It was so apparent that Misbah thought of Noor as her daughter, and loved her the same as if she was.

“Great passions grow into monsters in the dark of the mind; but if you share them with loving friends they remain human, they can be endured.” 

Sabaa Tahir, All My Rage

the plot.

This book really made me feel. It brought out so much–sadness, anger, rage, love, and on and on. The sections focusing on racism hit me especially hard, having gone through two major incidents of racial hatred recently. The story felt so real and whole in a way that few do. I felt fully engrossed, and it was so difficult to detach myself and put the book down. Although I am not Muslim or Pakistani, I understood most of the passages in Urdu and Punjabi (as a speaker of Hindi), and as always it was deeply moving to see any South Asian representation in this genre. I cannot comment on the representation of many of the experiences present in this story, but what I can say is that each one was written about with respect and consideration, including the experiences that I could relate to. Tahir stated that it took her ten years to write this book, and, in the best way, I can tell.

“Each moment joins the next, a murmuration of starlings exploding out o the rafters of my mind and into the the heavens, moving as one, revealing a greater purpose.” 

Sabaa Tahir, All My Rage

verdict.


Ultimately, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was not only beautifully written, but also captured so many important experiences that are not often verbally discussed in the South Asian community. The book was full of the titular rage, but even more so hope, truth, and love. I highly highly recommend that everyone read this book (however, please be mindful of the trigger warnings I’ve listed above)– it has definitely become my favorite book I’ve read this year, and I have been recommending it to everyone I happen across.


Have you read All My Rage? Let me know what your thoughts were down below!


Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day ❤

3 responses to “book review: all my rage by sabaa tahir”

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