If you read this blog, you know I avoid best sellers whenever possible …… well.  I’ve seen Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel on those front book shelves for a few years now and walked past it accordingly.  A mistake.  I started it yesterday and am enjoying it so much!  Aside from the best seller-thing, I hate to admit I was avoiding it for other reasons as well.  Did I want to read (at night and before bed, no less) about the horrific mistreatment of women in the Muslim world?  Could I relate?  Would Ali’s prose be the kind of stilted English prose that clunks painfully along?  I’m happy to say that, so far anyway, I was wrong on both counts.  I’m only 25 pages in, but wow, this is some story already.  First, Christopher Hitchens (whom I admire) has written the foreword, praising Ali for her bravery in telling a story that could get her killed, and he also explains the religious teachings of fear and punishment and hell-fire-damnation — in Islam and Christianity alike — that make such a story possible.

As far as Ali’s prose:  it flows beautifully and you need to know what’s going to happen next.  This woman can tell a story.  And I can relate to her relationship with her grandmother.  The Somali grandmother has lived a hard life and takes her bitterness out on her grandchildren, particularly Ali.  Ali loves her and fears her at the same time.  I find myself reading her story and thinking, “Hey, I felt the same about my grandmother in Missouri!”  From Cape Girardeau to Somalia, yet another example of the universality of family relationships.

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