Wednesday, January 4, 2012

CBRIII #18: Towelhead by Alicia Erian

Towelhead is a real page-turner. I picked it up thinking I'll just see what the first few pages were about, and I went through half of it in about a night. I'm not sure if I liked it per say, to be honest. It was a compelling subject matter, and the 13-year-old protagonist, Jasira, was very easy to identify with (even if at times, it pained me to admit that I identified with her) — but overall, I was left feeling like there was just something lacking.

At the beginning of Alicia Erian's novel, we learn that Jasira has just been told to move to her father's house because her mother was jealous of how her boyfriend was acting around her blossoming daughter. The idea is that her father should be able to control Jasira a little better, but that is proven to be impossible as Jasira finds herself getting drawn to their neighbor, a racist military man whose son calls Jasira a "towelhead." 

As I said before, the subject matter makes the book a real page-turner, as well as the mild-mannered way that Erian treats it. Everything is said in a very matter-of-fact way, and Jasira's dumb way of looking at things actually made me wonder if the girl had some sort disorder/developmental disability that the author did not mention. My friend Emily said that it could be Erian's way of winking at us, though I really don't want to try and understand the meaning of the wink... because like I said, I'm not really sold by it.  

I like to add that I do think this is probably a good book, but I just read it when I wasn't in a particularly great mood (Shit mood, actually). Towelhead left me in more of a funk because I just came away wishing I was more affected by Jasira and her plight/situation but instead found myself annoyed with her.