Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Review: Ten Things I Hate About Me

by: Randa Abdel-Fattah

Ten Things is about Jamie, a teenage girl from Sydney’s south west who lives two lives: at school and in the outside world she is ‘Jamie’, a bottle-blonde with an apparently Anglo Aussie background; at home she is ‘Jamilah’ a Lebanese-Muslim who is proud of her cultural identity. Jamie struggles to maintain her two personas as the rules of her over-protective father collide with the normal adolescence she perceives other teenagers to have and which she so desires.

Life appears to be looking up for Jamie when the most popular boy in school begins to show an interest in her. Added to that she gets an after-school job and makes an email friend, John, the only person with whom she can be completely honest. However her fate as a social outcast appears sealed when her father’s Stone Age Charter of Curfew Rights threatens to prevent her attending the much-anticipated Year 10 formal and her Arabic band is hired to play at the formal.

This was a pretty good book. It was definitly a pretty sereotypical story about a girl trying to figure out who she is, but it had some really nice twists that kept it interesting. Set in Australia, the story follow Jamilah, a Lebanese-Muslim who tried to hide her identity while at school in order to avoid the racial slurs that are hurled around her classrooms. Like most teenage girls, Jamilah, or Jamie as she goes by at school, just wants to fit in, but her family and heritage are tugging her in the opposite direction.

I really liked Jamilah's family, I especially enjoyed the fact that at first they seemed like sterotypes: The Strict, Uncompromising Father; Hippie Sister and Rebel Brother, but as the story went on and layers began to be peeled back, you got to see exactly what kind of family they were. The friends too fit this pattern- while at first we see them as sterotypes, they slowly become so much more then that, until at the end we see them for their true selves. How we see them evolve mirrors the path Jamilah takes from being afraid of being a stereotype, to acknowledging all that she is, to eventually embracing it.

I also really liked the way the author revealed information about Jamilah. Instead of using a diary or letter (which has been done before), here we see Jamilah exchanging personal emails with an anonymous online friend. My only complaint is that Jamilah wasn't able to put two and two together as to who this anonymous friend is, because it was pretty obvious to me fairly early on. Even with that, I liked that the emails allowed Jamilah to open up completely, something she was afraid to do at school and really couldn't do at home.

Overall I thought this was a good read and defintily fits the bill for fun summer reading!


  1. Sounds good.
    I am beginning to like this author.
    Thanks for the review! :)

  2. This is a great review and I will be adding this book to my wishlist! I love the site as well, and you are doing well in your 100 Books challenge :)
    Will add a link from my site to yours

  3. i REALLY want to read this book it sounds like would like it ps. great description about the book it made me understand it more