Rahma Hamed is younger than me – born in 2000, but have more life experience than more people than I know (including me). She went through a lot, has probably much more to say, but is that enough for a background of a good book?
This autobiographic book is mid-length, around 340 pages but it is very easy to read. There are no tough and heavy words, everything runs smoothly, there’s anticipation at the end of every chapter which makes you read more and more (that’s why I finished book in two weeks after purchase, which I usually do in 1-2 months).
And shortly about structure (be aware: spoilers ahead). It starts with Rahma’s childhood stories then it’s her childhood and teenage years in Oslo with her family, downfall of mental health, being closed in child service’s institution, foster family and at the end being by herself in one of the parent’s apartments.
As much I liked the book, the first part, namely the childhood in Mosul, Irak, was quite a tough one to swell. I never doubted that the author has experienced all that is written, however, we’re speaking of someone born in 2000, while the USA’s attack happened as early as 2003. She was 3 by that time, which means she wasn’t aware of her surroundings as much as she is saying so. She couldn’t think the thoughts that are presented as her “past”. She mentions at the beginning of the book that she asked doctors, family, friends etc for the details that she doesn’t remember herself – but because of that all what she has written at the start seem very odd. She should have shifted her perspective, for example a view of her from her mother’s eye, because the way that she used 1st person perspective here is rather weird. No one really knows how a life perspective of a 3 years old girl looks like, especially not her herself.
However, as she get older, and the perspective becomes more realistic, it all falls into right places. However, until we get to this point we have to go through a massive part of the book written… awkwardly. Don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against a YA books (Young Author, I believe it’s a separate category), but there’s difference between a book written by YA about dragons and wizards and a book about war, made by person similar age. Maybe it’s just my opinion – but with books this heavy she should have waited couple of years more. To gain more perspective on things, more words that would explain her emotions better. I just feel like this book was rushed.
That doesn’t make this book a bad piece. The second half was very absorbing, I literally couldn’t stop reading. Why I bought this book? Well, when I saw in the bookstore I was thinking I could get to know the immigrants from East Europe better, since they are a huge group here in Norway. Å samle solstråler… shows a lot of their culture and it has specific words in arabic here and there – it’s a great way to understand what motivates those people and how they think.
Is it worth the price? (I paid for it more than 300 NOK) – I don’t think so. For a newly published book by a not-known young author the price is ridiculous. I would expect price like that for a bestseller.
Is it worth reading? – definitely. Especially for those who think muslims are just those who don’t eat pork meat and that’s all they know. It shows war from the inside perspective (bad written but still), how immigrants can have hard life in Norway and how it is to suffer mentally.
Thank you so much for reading and I hope you all are having good weekend so far. It fell a lot of snow in the night, so I will spend my day cleaning the snow and probably walking around, as it’s very sunny today. See you soon with another post!