Saturday, June 06, 2009

Ask Me No Questions #48hbc

by Marina Budhos. Atheneum Books, 2006. Nadira and her family are illegal aliens from Bangaladesh in post-9/11 New Jersey. After the government starts a registration program aimed at all males from Muslim countries, her family flees to the Canadian boarder in terror. They are afraid the father will be deported or imprisoned. They are rejected by the Canadians at the boarder, and her father is taken into custody. Naidra and her sister drive back to NJ and try to pretend to live a normal life while their mother lives in Vermont in a shelter, waiting for their father's case to come to a hearing.

It was strange and uncomfortable for me to read this riveting book directly after reading a book on the Holocaust and another one on the human rights violations, disappearances and tortures in Chile in the 1980s. All three books are about young people dealing with displacement, loss of one's home country, government mistreatment, and challenging moral choices. Ask Me No Questions does a good job of showing the fear and confusion of a Bangladeshi family that has tried to do their best to become citizens but has made some poor choices about how to do that. They have nothing to do with terrorists and are baffled about why they are caught up in the government crackdown. Nadira feels helpless and confused but she is thrust into a situation where she must act to try to save her father and prove his innocence. There is also a lot of tension between Naidra and her older sister, which makes the girls very complex and human characters. This book read quickly and was full of excitement and interesting details. I would highly recommend it to middle school and high school kids.

This is my third book read for the 4th annual Mother Reader 49 Hour Reading Challenge.

5 comments:

Color Online said...

Oh, I'm very excited about reading this now. Thanks for the review.

Ruth @ Bookish Ruth said...

This sounds like a book that I would enjoy. Thanks for the excellent review!

Crystal said...

This sounds good, I am going to have to get it and read it. Thanks for sharing. Good luck as the 48hbc continues.

Rasco from RIF said...

I appreciated your phrases about "pretending to live a normal life" and also that you feel the girls are portrayed in their complexities...makes me take pen to paper and add this book to my growing list from the Challenge.

Camille said...

Interesting how the books you've been reading this weekend have similar themes. That happens to me sometimes. I always wonder if it is unconscious choice on my part or just serendipity?