This review can now be found on The Chicago Tribune's Signature Club webpage by clicking or copying and pasting this link into your browser:
Also, an abbreviated piece will be published in this Saturday's (1/16/10) Chicago Tribune printed edition. I'm very excited!
What did you love about the book?
Eleven year old Fawad, who narrates the story. I just loved his childish perspective and sense of humor he brings to the situations that unfold around him, which are very charming and intelligent all at the same time. The descriptions of Chicken Street and Afghanistan in general because I could vividly imagine the beauty of the land. Finally, I loved how the story unfolded because I couldn't guess what would happen next.
What was your least favorite thing about the book?
When Fawad's best friend Spandi gets killed by a suicide bomber it was heart wrenching and it actually made me cry (and I don't cry much). Also, towards the end when I had thought Georgie had passed away from the bullet wound that she had sustained during the raid on Haji Khan's home, only to find out in the epilogue that she hadn't died at all, but had changed her identity to Aisha Khan so she could marry and be with Haji Khan in Afghanistan. It was just kind of strange to me because it happened so suddenly.
If the book was set in Chicago, what neighborhood would it be in?
Devon because both Americans and Afghan's can agree upon their love of good ethnic food. At the table both parties can put aside their differences and just be themselves.
Would the main characters be a White Sox fan or a Cubs fan?
Sox fans for sure because Fawad, Jahid and Jamilla sure can hustle on Chicken Street like no other. Plus, James gives Fawad his first taste of beer and it was Miller Lite not Bud Lite or Old Style like they serve at Wrigley Field.
What one question would you most like to ask the author of this book?
When you lived in Afghanistan did you witness first hand any of the riots, raids or bombings you describe so vividly in this book?
If you wrote this book, how would the ending be different?
Call me American, but I wouldn't of had Georgie change her ways in order to marry Haji Khan. I would have Haji Khan and Georgie talk until they both understood each other's ways and come to a meeting of minds that both could agree upon and live with.
Overall, what did you think of this book?
I really enjoyed this book because it kept my interest and I couldn't wait to find out what would happen next. Plus, it's a timely piece that everyone should read because even though American and Afghanistan customs are different, underneath it all we're all just people.
Who is this book's ideal reader?
Anyone who's curious to find out more about Afghanistan and their culture.
What is one of your favorite books and why?
Harriet The Spy because after reading this book I went on a spying binge. I wore my trench coat, Groucho Marx disguise - you know the glasses with the nose and mustache, binoculars, and with pen and notebook in hand, I spied on the boys playing basketball down the street. They were two years older than I was, as well as, my neighbor next door, who rode his red riding lawn mower with his cowboy hat on, a cigar in his mouth, and a glass of scotch with one rock in it. I found out it was scotch because I asked. I'm sure everyone knew I was "spying" because I wasn't very good at it and had to do a lot of running. However, I think it's really funny now, and yes, I still have those notebooks somewhere.
What will you most likely going to read next?
Something funny so I can laugh instead of cry.