Excerpt from All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

All-American Muslim Girl

by Nadine Jolie Courtney

All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney X
All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Nov 2019, 432 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2021, 432 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Catherine M Andronik
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


I lean forward in my cramped seat, watching him walk up the aisle to the galley. He talks to the flight attendant, who looks our way. He seems agitated, his arms gesticulating.

Her face hardens.

"Dad," I say.

Before I can say more, the flight attendant is standing in front of my father. "Sir. Is there a problem?"

My father looks up at her, blinking several times. "No, ma'am. No problem."

"We've had complaints about you," she says.

"Complaints?" I say. The venom in my voice surprises me. "Or just one, from that guy?" I nod toward the man still standing in the galley.

"Allie," my father says, voice low. He shakes his head, almost imperceptibly.

The flight attendant appraises me, her brow knitted. I can't tell if she's irritated or confused. She turns back to my father. "Passengers have expressed concern. They said you were speaking Arabic and they heard the word 'Allah' repeatedly."

"'Allah' is a really common word in Arabic, ma'am," I say. "It's in, like, every other phrase."

"Allie, please," my father says.

Normally I would shut up. I'd be obedient and just listen to my dad, like always.

Today is not that day.

"He was talking to my grandmother, ma'am. She doesn't speak English. We're flying to Dallas for a family reunion. We live here, in Atlanta. Actually, just north of Atlanta—in Providence. You know Providence, right?" A gentle Southern twang creeps into my voice, even though I've lived in Georgia for barely six months.

She looks back and forth between the two of us.

My dad opens his mouth again. "Ma'am, there must have been a misunderst—"

"I'm his daughter," I say, putting on my best For the Adults voice. Dad doesn't get these people like I do. Thank God I dressed nicely and wore makeup for the flight. "I'm a student at Providence High School outside Atlanta. So we've just celebrated Christmas, and now we're spending New Year's Eve with the rest of our family. For a reunion." I repeat, my tone upbeat and friendly. I pull out my phone, Googling my father's name. "See? Here's my dad on the Emory website. He's an American history professor there. He has a PhD from the University of North Texas." I click around on my phone, pulling up another entry. "Oh, so this is an article about my dad in the LA Times a few years ago. He wrote a book when he was an assistant professor at UCLA, and it got great reviews. Here's another one, when he was an associate professor at Northwestern." I put my hand gently on my mother's arm. She tucks her blond hair behind an ear, looking concerned. "This is my mom, Elizabeth. She's a psychologist affiliated with Grady Memorial. We're American. We're all American."

This is so not me, speaking up, but I have to. It's my dad.

Listing my parents' résumés seems to mollify the flight attendant, but Dad's seatmate is still in the galley. His arms are crossed against his chest, his eyes sweeping over my father accusingly. I can practically hear his inner monologue: The daughter and the wife don't look Muslim. But the dad …

I stand up slowly. No sudden motions.

"Here, Daddy," I say, pulling gently on his arm. "Why don't we switch seats? You can sit next to Mommy." I never call her Mommy.

Wordlessly, he stands up and slides into my seat.

"Please, sir," I call to the man who has accused my father, gesturing palm up toward his empty seat. "After you."

He walks back down the aisle, frowning and avoiding eye contact.

"So sorry for the confusion, sir. My grandma is so silly," I say, smiling as I sit next to him. Smiling is key. It confuses them. Anger … indignation … that's a luxury we don't have. "I've been trying to get her to learn English for years. She should learn! But you know how it is, right? Can't teach an old dog new tricks."

He blinks, looking back at me. His dubious expression softens.

Excerpted from All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney. Copyright © 2019 by Nadine Jolie Courtney. Excerpted by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Monkey Boy
    Monkey Boy
    by Francisco Goldman
    Francisco Goldman's Monkey Boy exists in the liminal space between memoir and fiction. Like Goldman ...
  • Book Jacket: The Girl in His Shadow
    The Girl in His Shadow
    by Audrey Blake
    The Girl in His Shadow by Audrey Blake is a fast-paced historical novel set in Victorian-era England...
  • Book Jacket: Whereabouts
    Whereabouts
    by Jhumpa Lahiri
    Jhumpa Lahiri's Whereabouts has seen numerous comparisons to Second Place by Rachel Cusk. These two ...
  • Book Jacket: Swimming Back to Trout River
    Swimming Back to Trout River
    by Linda Rui Feng
    Linda Rui Feng's first novel, Swimming Back to Trout River, is a powerful meditation on the ties ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Book of Lost Names
by Kristin Harmel
A heartrending novel of survival, inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Morningside Heights
    by Joshua Henkin

    A tender and big-hearted novel about love in the face of loss, from the award-winning author of The World Without You.

Who Said...

Anagrams

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

H I T Best P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.