Sometimes Our Current Reads Read Us


Friends and Readers, my blog post for the week is a bit late because my current read is reading me. 

In other words, as I spend time with my novel right now my breath stops, eyes prick, and I reach for my phone to take snapshots of the pages. The messages it wants to give me are trying to settle deep within me. And raising such good questions.

I think of concentric circles represented by pebbles (or rocks!) dropped into a lake. The story this book is telling affects this, and then this, and then this in my personal life.

"A Place For Us" by Fatima Farheen Mirza touches all of it: family dynamics, religion v. individuality, and morality v. humanity. 

Are you happy?” he asked. 
”I am.” she said. And then she twisted again the row of bangles on her wrist. “I’m content. My parents are happy.
— "A Place For Us" by Fatima Farheen Mirza
What was a believer meant to be like when all their rituals and practices were stripped away? Layla had begun to think lately that there was no real way to quantify the goodness of a person—that religion give templates and guidelines but there were ways it missed the mark entirely.
— p. 208
It did not matter that she was his mother. What she could ever hope to know of him was only a glimpse—like the beam of a lighthouse skipping out, only one stretch of waves visible at a time, the best left in the unknowable dark.
— p. 213

The title of the book is mentioned once in the book. It's not about two people in or wanting to be in a romantic relationship. It's about a family of five (#metoo!) who finds a place during a rare family picnic. A lot of the story spends time wondering if they will ever get back to that place...just the five of them happy and free, together, and playing in the sun.

I haven't finished the book so I don't know. I'm pretty sure it won't ever look the same as that Sunday afternoon. And that, my readers, has been my heart's question and cry for so so many months...moving into years..."How do I live with this understanding? That it will never be the same OR look like I had hoped?"

This book is reading me. 

Yes, I do recommend this story for any of us who find ourselves wondering how our ideals and actual family dynamics can somehow come together. Actually, I would suggest don't pick up the latest "How to" parenting or marriage or book for tips you try to apply to unique families or situations. Read a story that moves you about what's on your heart. And listen. Listen for the gifts the story wants to give that heart. 

The author, who is only 26, was asked by The Guardian what kind of questions her story explored. Here's how she responded:

What does it mean when asserting yourself as an individual can be seen as a betrayal to the home, or culture, or faith that you’ve come from? How do you navigate those instances? What do you owe to your loved ones? And what do you owe to yourself if there’s a conflict there?

Link to source for quote here.

There is SO MUCH in the themes of this book that I want to explore for you and me and connect over. So much. I will continue the discussion on FB Live at 10am PDT on Saturday, July 21. Then I will post a link to the video here so you can visit it to go deeper with me about these thoughts and themes. 

Until then, do consider picking up this book or adding it to your To Be Read list. 

Have you had the experience of a book reading you? Would you be willing to share which one? What was it? I'm so interested!