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The Writing on My Forehead    by Nafisa Haji order for
Writing on My Forehead
by Nafisa Haji
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

The stories of second-generation Americans are always so interesting! The first generation carries its culture and language pretty well intact to U.S. shores. In the second generation we begin to see where the new culture starts to pinch the old and where heartbreak can enter. Some second-generation children choose to follow traditional ways; others do not.

The Writing on My Forehead tells about an Indo-Pakistani family with branches in India, Pakistan, England and America. Even though its members are widely scattered, e-mail keeps them up to date. The story is told by Saira, the younger of two sisters. She is the rebellious one, while sister Ameena stays close to the family ways. Saira is determined to uncover a family secret, and, in doing so, she learns much more about her favorite relatives and ones she never even knew before. All had to face challenges and make choices. As fate would have it, Saira's determination to go her own way is brought up short by a tragedy, and it is the family history she has gained that enables her to see the path she must take.

Nafisa Haji has told a very beautiful story, beautiful because it is realistic and written from the heart. We are all a product of our heritage, and each of us must learn to honor it in a way that respects not only who we are but also where we came from.

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