Lola T. (Broken Arrow, OK)
The Sweetness of Tears
I had several reservations or hastily made judgements as I dipped into the first section of the book, but I am so happy to say the fears were not realized. I was on guard fearing that this might be a "preachy, Christian" novel, but I couldn't have been farther from the truth!
I love books that really give me insight into a culture or religion, and does this one deliver!!
The differing points of view were well-done, although in the beginning I did need to keep track of who was who. Their voices were well-defined and clear. The "forbidden love" that is the impetus for the stories of all involved seemed just a tad far-fetched, but, I suppose stranger things happen in real life!
If there was a fault, I'd say the story was wrapped up a little too neatly - and quickly - at the end.
I loved the book and will recommend it, especially to individuals who read looking for books that their group will enjoy. Congratulations on a novel well-done!!
Molly B. (Longmont, CO)
Some pearls of wisdom
This book moves ahead in interesting ways. Unlikely topics and worlds combine authentically. It teaches while entertaining – a great mix. By reminding us of our shared humanity, the author offers transcending links between two cultures that we have been taught are diametrically opposed. There are some real pearls. Haji proposes that “the messy complicated nature of truth” is essential to well-being; that grief is a better choice than anger because it “ages better”; and she describes the “rare gift” of the chance to atone. I shed a few tears myself reading this book, and each one was sweet.
Sandra S. (Huntington Woods, Michigan)
The Sweetness of Tears by Nafisa Haji
This book begins as a mystery for the main character as well as a mystery for the reader. The main character has a feeling of doubt that she know the answer to, that gives the book its page-turning, powerful aspect. It takes the main character Jo, and the reader to many different countries she never thought she'd visit. She'd meet people who were strangers to her, but at the same time she felt she knew them. She never questioned the fact that the life journey she was on was what she was suppose to be doing. I believe knowing the answer that Jo was looking for the reader can enjoy learning as Jo does about all of the many characters she meets and learns about that the reader does not know. The book is also about religions. The Muslim religion is explained in detail. The difference between the Shiite and Sunni religion is explained. The author uses many Middle Eastern words and includes a glossary at the back of the book for the reader. I not only found this book to be very interesting and exciting, but I also found it to be educational.
Susan R. (Julian, NC)
The Sweetness of Life
I was very close to giving up on this book for the first 50 pages but I continued reading because I had really enjoyed this author's first book (The Writing on my Forehead). I made a list of all of the characters as they appeared in the book so that could connect the families. Once I did that, I couldn't put the book down. I think that this author presents a unique view on the differences of the two cultures - but then lets us see that ultimately we all strive for the same things in our lives no matter where we are from. I highly recommend this book.
Nancy L. (Denver, NC)
The New "Three Cups of Tea"
It's been a long time since I've read a book this good. The characters are from all over - an evangelical Christian family discovers their connection with Muslims from Pakistan and Iraq during the War on Terror. The Christian matriarch, Faith, is a woman of incredible compassion and bravery - in the world but not to her family. The world of the Muslim woman is heartbreaking.
I love the meaning of the "sweetness of tears":"Tears are proof that there is love in the world. Tears are only bitter when we cry selfishly for ourselves...tears that flow from the love in your heart" for others are sweet tears - let them fall.
Mary J. (Scottsdale, AZ)
Starts out rather slow but soon picks up speed. I wasn't able to put it down. Well written and full of surprises. A must read!!
Carole A. (Denver, CO)
The sweetness of the book!
Nafisa Haji engaged me and kept me involved from the first word to the last. For the first time in many books I was sorry to have the book conclude. This book is, in my opinion, a winner! The reality of all the characters, situations and connections felt strongly reality based and for many of the twists extremely timely. I actually double checked to be sure this was a novel and not a true story. While one could delve into more detail I would not want to spoil the story as told. Suffice to say insight into customs between the cultures of the countries and the religions was enlightening. The blending of the Christian and the Muslin families was wonderful. This is a book that I have already recommended to three book clubs and many friends.