Towelhead

Towelhead

by Alicia Erian
4.1 33

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

Towelhead by Alicia Erian

It is August 1990. Saddam Hussein has just invaded Kuwait, and Jasira's mother has bought her daughter a one-way ticket to Texas to live with her strict Lebanese father. Living in a neat model home in Charming Gates, just outside of Houston, Jasira struggles with her father's rigid lifestyle and the racism of her classmates, who call her "towelhead." For the first time, the painful truth hits her: she's an Arab. Her aching loneliness and growing frustration with her parents' conflicting rules drive her to rebel in very dangerous ways. Most disturbingly, she becomes sexually obsessed with the bigoted army reservist next door, who alternately cares for, excites, and exploits her.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743285124
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 04/04/2006
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 349,634
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.43(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Alicia Erian is the author of a short story collection, The Brutal Language of Love. Her work has appeared in Playboy, Zoetrope, Nerve, The Iowa Review, and other publications. This is her first novel.

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Towelhead 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As the title suggests, this book is about the harsh name-calling of a person of Middle Eastern descent. The person in question is a young teenage girl entering adolescence. But it goes much more beyond that. It's about the many poor relationships that she must endure before finding out that people (especially children) shouldn't really be treated the way she has been. The book is by first-time novelist Alicia Erian, and I picked it up because I always enjoy reading authors' first efforts. It was definitely an easy read, told from the perspective of the 13-year-old girl, Jasira, who lives with her strict (and physically abusive) Lebanese father in Texas after her Irish mother sends her to live there. It was well-written in that it was written as a 13-year-old might write. The language was simple, direct, and adolescent (in a good way). Had Erian written it differently, it would have lost its realistic approach into the mind, thoughts, and feelings of a young girl. Jasira's mother sends her to live there after she discovers that the mother's boyfriend did some inappropriate things to her daughter. Of course, her mother maintains the relationship with her boyfriend, showing where her loyalty lies. While in Texas, Jasira befriends the neighbors, much to her father's displeasure and begins to babysit for a young boy who feels free to use 'Towelhead' as an appropriate term for his babysitter. Jasira also befriends the boy's father, and he later sexually abuses her, making her feel like she did something wrong, and that it was okay that he did so. To add fuel to the fire, we discover that Jasira's father is a racist and tells her to stop seeing an African-American boy in school. She goes against his wishes (behind his back, of course), as she likes spending time with her new boyfriend...and exploring sex with him. 'Towelhead' could very well be this generation's 'Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret?' It is a bit more graphic, though, so parents should be a bit wary and read the book first. That's not to say that this is a teenager's book. It's very much for adults. But it contains some valuable lessons for teenagers and adults alike about relationships and parenting. Kudos to Erain for an enjoyable book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm shocked there aren't any reviews up for this book yet! I don't feel the two editorial reviews give a good picture of the book, so here is my review of it. Wow! Towelhead was a wonderful book I simply couldn't put down. Alicia Erian deftly explores the maturing of a young Lebanese-American girl. Erian takes a no-holds-barred approach to telling Jasira's story, and for that her book has been dubbed 'controversial.' Yet this book's explicitness was what made it ring so very true to this reader, a woman who was a young teen herself and who teaches them each day. This book was so honest and heartfelt and I read it in the course of one night. In addition to racism, this book explores the heartbreaking sensuality of a girls' first sexual explorations. Maybe it's my heightened awareness to this topic due to some issues some of my students went through last year that have led me to seek out books on this issue, but I've read a lot of excellent books on this topic lately and Ms. Erian's book takes its proud place next to these others.Other books that might be good companions to this are listed at the bottom of this review. My only gripe with this book would be that it seems to ache for a sequel! I hope Ms. Erian will write one sometime soon. Brava, Ms. Erian! More, please!
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Angela Meadows More than 1 year ago
I didn't care for this book. It was too explicit for my taste. I wonder if anyone really lives like this.
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Overall I enjoyed this book. It grabbed my attention right away and throughout the first half, I couldn't put the book down. I didn't think the second half of the book was as original or touching as the first half, but I would still recommend it.
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