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A Thousand Questions

af Saadia Faruqi

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Mimi goes on a summer trip with her mom to visit Pakistan and stay with the grandparents she hardly knows. The trip is eye-opening. Her grandparents are rich while she and her mom struggle to get by in America. Sakina's dad is the cook in Mimi's grandparents house and she works there every day too. The book alternates in its telling between the two girls who become friends point of view. Through their eyes we see culture clash, family problems, and a budding friendship. Sakina dreams of school but she needs to pass the English portion of an entrance exam in order for her family to even possibly consider it. With her dad ill, she has the pressure of bringing income into the house. Mimi feels like she has a missing piece by not having a relationship with her dad.
In the audiobook, it was interesting that Mimi's voice changed depending if she was the narrator or if Sakina was the narrator related conversations.
The girls are full characters and the story compelling. ( )
  ewyatt | May 24, 2021 |
Pakistani-American Mimi (short for Maryam) and Pakistani Sakina - a servant in Mimi's Pakistani grandparents' house in Karachi - meet when Mimi and her mother come for a visit. It's Mimi's first visit in her twelve years, and she's not thrilled to be going, but she's open to new experiences and has a lot of questions. She turns to Sakina for some of the answers, and Sakina agrees to help her - if Mimi will help Sakina with her English, so she can take a test to get a scholarship to attend school. But even if she does get in, Sakina worries that her parents won't be able to afford for her to go - they rely on her income, as well as her father's, to live. The two girls trade chapters throughout, and Mimi's chapters include letter-style journal entries, addressed to her father, a journalist who left the family when Mimi was five - and who, she discovers, is currently in Karachi.

Back matter includes a helpful glossary of Urdu and Arabic words.

See also: Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed. See also: Amina's Voice by Hena Khan, The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

Quotes

"Listen, Sakina. There's no point in learning too much about how those Americans live. It will only make you unhappy with your own lot in life." (Abba to Sakina, 76)

"We shouldn't get angry about things we cannot control." (Abba to Sakina, 237)

"There's no freedom for poor people." (Sakina to Mimi and Nani, 254)

"There's no point in crying over the loss of something. I've usually found that things aren't ever lost. One just doesn't know where they are at that moment." (Nana to Mimi, 266) ( )
  JennyArch | Dec 11, 2020 |
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