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Monday, August 15, 2016

An Infidel in Paradise - S.J. Laidlaw

This book was free.  I got it at a book sale my first year as a Teacher-Librarian.  I remember reading the back and thinking it sounded good.  It was catalogued and onto the shelf it went.  I remember seeing it from time to time and thinking 'too bad no one will give it a chance'.  I do believe a big part of my job is seeking out those books that no one tries, giving them a try and sharing them with my young readers.  Summer reading marathons came and went and then this Spring I had a parent volunteer go through YA books that have not been signed out since I've come to the library.  'An Infidel in Paradise' was among the group on the outs.  I felt sad for this Canadian novel.  I refused to get rid of it without it being read.  I vowed to read it this summer.

So glad I did.  If I need to talk about abandoning books, I also need to spend some time talking to kids about giving books a chance.  It's ok to abandon, but some books just need a chance.

I've been on a fascination train with all things India.  Pakistan (Paradise) is another setting that I enjoy.  I'm trying to figure out why I enjoy the suffering of these harsh settings.  Is it so far removed from life in the west?  Does the fascination come from learning about a culture that is beautiful, steeped in tradition and one I know little of?  Probably.

Emma in this book is a Canadian who is trying to make sense of Pakistan.  I can empathize with her - I would have made the same blunders she experiences and has to live down.  Also, her family is in disarray.  Family turmoil and dealing with cultural differences are of the themes in this great Canadian novel.

Give it a CHANCE!

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