Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Though the main reason I joined my church book group because I love to read. I also joined the group to be opened up to different types of books-non-fiction, memoir, instructional, etc. I was hopeful for finding things I wouldn’t typically pick up or reading about topics that were hidden among the pages I had not seen. And this group has not let me down.
For June, our group decided to read Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. It is an autobiography. Not a typical book I read. Ali is from Somalia and escapes as a refugee to Holland and ends up becoming part of the Dutch Parliament. Her life is threatened many times, she is circumcised (yes-you read that right-as a female and its not pretty), is trying to grow in a devout Muslim faith at the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood with two very different examples of what a devout Muslim woman believes and how they act and struggles with trying to find her voice in cultures and faith communities that typically suppress women from a dysfunctional and disintegrating family. It is very interesting and contains a lot of material on each page, making the 330-page book feel like 1000. Some comments and possibly some spoilers
1) Don’t read the forward by Christopher Hitchens. Typically I do not say this–usually forwards give unique insight about the relationship between the writer and the author or stories that you would not get in the book. This is not true about this section. Honestly-I tried to be open, knowing Hitchens was a declared atheist. I actually try to listen to everyone’s perspective. But if you cannot write well while trying to insult and deconstruct someone else’s opinion without any consideration for the book you are writing a forward for-then I cannot respect you. Honestly–got through 5 pages and Hitchens only defines religion as a myth and states that belief as limiting illogical method of thinking. While this may be the case for Ali and himself–you can still state such things with respectful terms. They require that type of standard for descriptions of non-religious reasoning–they should require the same for religious reasoning.
2) I will state this again–each page is filled with so much imagery, so much information that it can be overwhelming. I remember reading 10 pages and thinking I had read 50 pages. Deep descriptions that paint a picture of some of the more depressing and disturbing events of Ali’s life are hard to diguest all at once. I highly recommend taking the time to read this book. Slow, in bites and counteract with it with something positive and inspiring.
3) The book does get more inspiring. It’s getting through through all the depressing and shocking information in the beginning that takes the longest.
Good luck to all who read!