REVIEW: A Jihad for Love by Mohamed El Bachiri


★★★★★

Reasons for buying: This book was not on my original summer reading list, but when I saw it, I had to buy it and read. The title, editorial reviews, blurb and author’s bio, all found on both front and back cover pages before even opening the book, prompted an urgent read.

What the author adds to the subject matter? El Bachiri delivers a very important message or plea against violence and extremist terrorism. He adds his voice on the senseless killings, in the name of religion, that rob families and friends of their loved ones. The author captures the acute loss of his wife, who was killed in a suicide bomb attack at a metro station in Brussels. El Bachiri not only adds his views on religion but invites the reader in as he talks about his family, love, marriage and so much more.

Personal reaction: My eyes watered from the intense wave of emotion I felt from the very first pages of this small book. The use of first person point of view makes reading feel more close and personal. It’s like listening to a friend pouring his heart out about his loss and the struggle to go on regardless, and for his children.

I presumed this book to be a poetry collection, not because it was shelved under poetry at the bookstore but because of the layout or how the content is structured. Readers, who like their genres nicely catalogued and perfectly labelled might have difficulty with this one.

Content, visually on the page, is like poetry but reads as prose. I personally appreciate this style of writing. It makes the book easier to read and digest, in small doses, otherwise it would have been a heavy read with its deeply touching narrative.

Recommendation: In all, this plea, conversation, poem, elegy, memoir (yes the book is all of these things) is important. Whatever your views, or lack of, on Islam, you’ll sure take away something of value from the author’s experience.

“Everyone should read, own and love this book…” I totally agree.

The book is available both as ebook and paperback on Amazon.

12 Comments

  1. It sounds like a rather intense (and necessary) read.

    I’m currently doing a closed reading of Before We Were Free, by Julia Alvarez. The novel provides a heart-tearing glimpse into what dictatorship, in the Dominican Republic, did to many people and the protagonist in particular. I have to read this sort of books really, really, really slowly–the emotions run so high. When I recover from it, I shall find myself a copy of this one.

    Thanks for the very telling review.

    1. You’re welcome, Maga. Yes, this book is a necessary read.

      And your current read sounds interesting, more so because I don’t remember ever reading any novel set in the Dominican Republic. I’m making a note of.

      This is the beauty of shared reading, we find books we wouldn’t otherwise beware of.

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