Book club

Book Club: Review By Noor Ahmad

Hey guys! How are we already at the end of February? This month literally just flew on by. For this month’s Book Club post, I asked my lovely friend Noor to write about a book she recently enjoyed. You know I love featuring different voices on Princess Warrior, and Noor definitely is a strong woman with a clear voice. Enough babble, here’s this gorgeous girl’s review:

Check your privilege

2019. A modern era, living in which we have a lot to be thankful about. Humanity has slowly but surely taken steps towards progress – equality and respect for all. Despite that, the sad truth is, we still have a long way to go.

Taking a step back and looking at all of the events transpiring around the globe one cannot help but feel a heavy sense of dread. There is a lot to feel despondent over, society’s prevailing homophobia and transphobia included. Granted, we have taken great strides in the direction of progress with countries around the globe passing laws which enable the LGBTQI+ community to feel safer and express their true selves, without fear of being attacked and killed.

Sadly, this was not the case mere decades ago when LGBTQI+ community had to suffer and endure the harshest trials possible. John Boyne’s ‘The Heart’s Invisible Furies’ explores such trials and tribulations faced by a gay man in Ireland in the 1950s onwards, not the mere decades ago we mentioned earlier but still an accurate representation of what some have to endure even in this day and age.

As an avid reader and intense book lover I usually do not have favorites, the Harry Potter books excluding which will always be my favorite and hold a special place in my heart. Each book I read has something to teach to me and has something of value which will not be found in another. Despite feeling this way, I quickly found out that this will not be the case with ‘The Heart’s Invisible Furies’. From the moment I opened the book and read the first page to the moment I finished it, I was utterly perplexed and gripped. Having read ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas’ and ‘The Absolutist’, I can safely conclude that John Boyne is a magician. He weaves words and phrases together to form a story that reels you in from the first sentence, hooks you and does not let go until the last word has been consumed and absorbed. He re-creates his magic in ‘The Heart’s Invisible Furies’, just as he did in ‘The Absolutist’, both developing the prevailing theme of exploring the life of gay men in a day and age when being anything but “normal” possibly meant a death sentence.

I personally do not enjoy spoilers so I will not go ahead and do the forbidden deed myself but instead will try to give a brief overview of what to expect when picking up the book and indulging in it.

On the top of my list is that you should expect to cry. I usually do not cry when reading a book, occasional welling up here and there excluded, but John Boyne had me sobbing my eyes out.

Secondly, expect your existential anxiety to flare up, in conjunction with your crying it seems. Death is an abyss none of us will ever be able to truly understand. All we can hope for is peace and contentment for the moment it greets us.

Thirdly, expect to feel angry, absolutely livid, at the horror that man is capable of and the destruction we propagate when confronted with something that does not fit into our existing world-view.

Fourthly, expect to confront the hypocrisy of “the men of the cloth”. Religion influences almost all aspects of our lives but it also incites less than positive feelings and thoughts in those who seek to twist its’ teachings to benefit them and their message. Many around the globe have changed their thinking to a more inclusive, peaceful approach but there are present more still who have yet to step out of the darkness of their hypocrisy and see the light.

We might have achieved equality and respect in the more “modern” Western countries but we still have a ways to go before equality, respect and a safe environment to live and love in can be possible for the LGBTQI+ community globally. As a cis woman, I will never claim to know what an ostracized life feels like and must always check my privilege but I can use my words to try and ensure that no one in the world continues to feel as if they do not fit in or have place in society. We can use our words to ensure that there is peace and love for all – not just some.

That’s it for this month’s Book Club. What good books did you read this February? Let me know in the comments!

If you would like to check out some of Noor’s content, head over to her Instagram.

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