A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
5 of 5 stars for all The Traveling Sisters
Brenda’s Traveling Sister Review
Norma and I read A Place For Us with 15 of our Traveling Sisters. Right from the very first mention of reading this book we were excited and had no idea the incredible reading experience that awaited for us. With a few sisters who mostly stick to thrillers and were a little hesitant at first as this was not their normal read we all dived in together and were immediately drawn into this family and story.
I will not be able to beautifully put my thoughts together or write a review as beautiful as my Traveling Sisters have with their reviews but I am going to try by sharing from my heart how much this story touched us and how it made us feel.
Sometimes a book hits in ways you don’t expect and everything becomes clear as to why you read and you seek book after book chasing that incredible feeling of finding that book that really spoke to you leaving you feeling so privileged to have read it. A Place For Us was that book for us.
Fatima Farheen Mirza took us on an emotional journey like we have never experienced before and we really wished we could have been lost in a coulee for real reading this together and hiding from the demands of life to solely focus on this read and reading experience. We took our time and savored every word and moment of this beautiful and gracefully written story as well with our very meaningful discussion. Through this journey, we experienced so many emotions as we read and discussed this story together.
Fatima Farheen Mirza does an amazing job of inviting us into the lives of this Muslim family and showing us their love, their struggle to find balance, their convictions, mistakes, their inner struggles and most of all, what they held dear to them as a family. We instantly connected with them and they became our family. They became us and we could see ourselves, our neighbors and our community in them. We could truly see the magic of Mirza’s talent and her ability to bring the private parts of this family to life not just by their struggles of each finding their place within their culture and religion but also with finding their place in this world. This allowed us to see the story on a more universal level that can be related to any family.
So much emotional depth to this one and we dug deep into the layers and really took our time discussing this story. Our hearts were twisted, broken and we were in agony at times with our emotions. After finishing reading this story, some of us were left weeping and others speechless as we felt our hearts were ripped out from our chests. In the end, we all came together and shared our feelings towards this tender story that touched us in so many similar ways yet so differently at times.
For a short time, we found our place together reading this unforgettable story and it will always be a very special Sister Read for us all.
Thank you so much from all of us Traveling Sisters to Goodreads, Sarah Jessica Parker’s new imprint SJP for Hogarth, Fatima Farheen Mirza, and Penguin Random House for bringing us all together for this Incredible Traveling Sister Read by providing us with the opportunity to read and review an advanced physical copy of this book.
5 Glowing Stars! Wow! This book was an absolutely phenomenal read and was quickly placed on my Goodreads Favourite Reads shelf for 2018!
This book was absolutely everything to me! My thoughts and emotions did not change from the very first sentence of this book and held dear right to the very last sentence. If anything it just reminded me of what I seek and why I love to read! A PLACE FOR US moved me more than any other novel has ever moved me before.
I have never been so excited to have received a book in the mail like I was with this one. Upon opening the package and actually having this book in my hands (giving it a smell & a hug ~ I think all of us Traveling Sisters can relate to that!) the first thing I noticed was that beautiful cover. This story is just as gorgeous and beautiful as that cover!
A PLACE FOR US by FATIMA FARHEEN MIRZA was an absolutely fantastic, powerful, thought-provoking, moving, and heartfelt novel that has affected me in ways that no other novel has ever done before. I was immediately drawn into this story and savored every single sentence! I absolutely love the title of this book and found it was extremely fitting to this story. No matter who we are or where we are from there is A Place for Us!
FATIMA FARHEEN MIRZA delivers a steady-paced, fascinating and beautifully written story here with interesting, compelling, realistic and believable characters that I absolutely fell in love with. The story is told from multiple perspectives which alternates between the voices of Layla, Hadia, and Amar, with a surprising narrative near the end which I absolutely loved. We see the same events unfold through the different perspectives and what the significance of each event meant to them and how it ultimately shapes each character. We really get a good look and understanding into each of these events. Even though there is a lot of memories within each chapter that flip around in place and time I didn’t find it at all confusing and really enjoyed the way that this story was told.
In the end, I thought this was such an important, touching and powerful story and I am so happy that I had the pleasure of reading it! This book has the power to change the way we think and feel and has reminded me of all the reasons of why I love to read! 💕 This is by far one of the best books that I have ever read!!
A powerful debut novel that explores the complicated relationship of a traditional family existing in a modern world.
Tradition. Respect. Strong words that run deep. Words not only meant to guide ones’ life, but in many ways define it.
Some stay within the tight circle of what they hold to be true. Others, rebellious and curious, seek the lure of the unknown. Would it be possible to find the joy and happiness everyone seeks somewhere in the middle?
To be sure, a delicate line between honoring your heritage while co-existing in the modern culture you find yourself in. For some, it may be an easy path. For others, it may be a struggle they carry their entire lives.
The very human desire to stay true to who you are without losing your self.
Hadia and her 2 siblings have grown up in a traditional Muslim family in a modern American culture. It is up to them to navigate the pull that each society has on them.
Today Hadia is getting married and her greatest wish is to have her brother Amar standing by her side. A brother that has sadly been estranged from the family for years. Can the family put their differences behind them and come together on this special day? Or will tradition and stubborn minds hold them back from reconciliation.
I believe everyone struggles to find their “Place.” A sense of belonging. To find that bit of peace in this confusing, ever-changing world. So, if you’re lucky enough to find yours, hold onto it with everything you have!
This book touched me more than I ever imagined it would and was a major step out of my bubble. With the encouragement of my sisters I embraced it. And what a touching gift it turned out to be. This book and it’s messages will stay with me for a very long time.
Extremely rare are the novels that touch the soul, permanently marking the heart, creating a burning in the lungs, making it impossible to draw in enough air. “A Place for Us” by Fatima Farheen Mirza is that kind of novel.
Every word read, causing an emotional chill and creating a sensation that coursed through me, making my heart all a flutter.
“A Place For Us” is a novel about a family of five: Rafiq, Layla, Hadia, Huda and Amar, all of whom struggle to be true to themselves, while trying to remain faithful to each other, their religion and their traditions as Muslim Americans. Rafiq, runs a tight ship, strictly adhering to the militant upbringing, he himself grew up with. Layla, lives for both her family and her religion, they go hand in hand and she believes in the power of her faith to help guide her through. Her children are her life, though unconsciously she gravitates to one, more than the others. Hadia, the eldest daughter, is the best and the brightest, the one who needs recognition, personally and professionally above all else. She has a need to live by a certain code, regardless of who it impacts. Huda is the quiet one, the most confident, the most self-assured. The one everyone goes to when they need to be consoled. Amar, is the youngest child, the one who struggles the most: within his family unit, with school and with his beliefs. He has always been the outsider. The one thing he wants most in this life is forbidden.
At the outset of “A Place for Us,” the family comes together to celebrate Hadia’s wedding. Amar returns for the celebration from parts unknown, having been estranged from the family for many years. Everyone walks on eggshells. afraid of each other and most of all, afraid of facing the truth.
Emotions are palpable, from the very first moment, the tightness in the chest, the sinking, nervous feeling in the stomach. I am there, scared straight, watching, waiting, all eyes on Amar.
Fatima Farheen Mizra created characters who I felt a complete and utter kinship with, almost a “oneness” with when reading this. I am Hadia, when she is in competition with Amar and when confronts her Baba (Rafiq) about him; I am Amar, when he dotes on his mother, when he plays with his friend Ali, when he looks longingly at Amira and when he hangs his head in shame. I am also Huda, when she comforts those around her. Whose character resonates most with me you might wonder..gnawing away every fiber of my being? Amar. Always Amar. Thinking of his unrelenting heartache, his unwavering need for acceptance, love and understanding, my chest is tight and my eyes fill with tears.
When reading this novel, my head swirled with a myriad of thoughts. How do you define “A Place for Us?” Is it culture, family, religion or tradition? It it a “place” for you or a “place” for me? In my opinion, the answer isn’t that simple. It is the “place” where each character feels the most comfortable being the person they are, the “place” they feel the safest and most at ease and for each it is different.
No one knows how they might impact someone else and yet, in “A Place for Us” each and every character’s life is impacted by another’s actions and decisions. Ways in which you would never imagine. In my mind, this was the take-away – to be accountable for your actions and think about how your choices affect those around you as all actions have consequences, even the trivial ones.
“A Place for Us” is novel I lived and breathed. It is full of life lessons and a gazillion heartfelt, desperate, tear-jerking moments. To say that I was invested in and loved Amar, Huda, Hadia and Baba and this book is an understatement. The writing is so fluid, like a fountain, the water rising up, up, up ever so slowly, and splashing over quickly. It calming, exquisite, intricate, muted. In other words, sheer perfection. It has a “place” in my heart and soul and the characters will continue to give me chills for a long time to come.
Emotional. Eye-opening. Beautiful. Breathtaking. Intense. Raw. Unforgettable.
This novel follows the lives of a Muslim Indian American family. The eldest daughter, Hadia, is getting married which brings the family back together under one roof after being apart for the last few years.
Let me start by saying, the writing was absolutely stunning, exquisite and quite simply – perfection. The fact that this author is 27 years old is mind-blowing. She writes with such maturity, elegance and beauty that the words have no choice but to lift off the page and work their way deep into your heart.
These characters are real. I feel like I know them. Each and every character came to life for me – they stirred up my emotions and had me enthralled in this heart-wrenching story.
This story will make you think. It will make you feel. It will challenge your thoughts and beliefs.
For more of our Traveling Sister’s reviews we have included their links to GR and blog posts.
Melisa’s Review / Melisa’s Blog
Mackenzie’s Review / Mackenzie’s Blog