Book Review: When Wings Expand
by Atiya Hasan. Taken from browngirlmagazine.com
It’s funny how our brains can make something so simple
seem so big and scary.
As I ran my hand over the cover of When Wings Expand, before I was about to lose myself in the story between the pages, I mentally prepared myself to find the all the probably mistakes. I’m sure they’ll misrepresent Islam, I said to myself, like they always do. Or, I bet there’s tons of cultural influences that have nothing to do with Islam.
Not only was I pleasantly surprised, but surprisingly enough, the book had me weeping as I read its final pages. The book is about Nur, a young, Muslim girl dealing with the terminal illness of her mother. The book is a diary that is a gift from her mother to help her cope with the difficult circumstances. I’m neither Turkish nor Canadian and I’ve never had to deal with any close relatives being gravely ill. Yet, there were many things I learned about myself as I read this book; strength in the face of hopelessness, the importance of a family’s love and support, and probably the most important, faith.
As pure as Nur’s character, so is the representation of Islam in the book. Mehded Maryam Sinclair, the author, is very well versed in the distinction between cultural practices and those that are the property of Islamic teachings. The representation is basic enough that it is a warm welcome for those that may not be as knowledgeable about the topic.
Though this book was meant for a younger age group, I thoroughly enjoyed each moment spent in its world. The story of Nur’s loss is one that is deeply entrenched in faith. It is a guiding light for those that lose their faith when faced with adversities. Sinclair is adept at making the sorrow real but not painful. She leads the readers down a path of beautiful moments on a journey to acceptance and, ultimately, peace.