Love, Hate, and Other Filters
By Samira Ahmed
Genre: Contemporary/We Need Diverse Books-Indian American Muslim Characters
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
Bang Bang Reveiw
Maya Aziz is an American born Indian Muslim with very traditional parents. They want Maya to go to college near home and become a lawyer; Maya wants to go to NYU to study film making. They want Maya to learn to cook and marry a good Indian boy; Maya wants to be a normal teen and date whomever she wants. Meanwhile, Maya’s crush on Phil, the hot yet sensitive football player, may come to fruition and hot Indian college guy may also be in play. Life is okay until there’s a terrorist attack and the accuser shares the same last name as Maya. Being the only Indian family in their small town leaves the Aziz’s open for attacks which includes the Islamophobia Maya faces at school.
Each chapter ends with the perspective of the terrorist or someone going about that day. You know at some point the terrorist and Maya are going to collide and the anticipation is how it’s going to affect Maya’s life. I was assuming this book was a deeper exposition about Islamophobia but it’s not-DAMN YOU GOODREADS! This is why I don’t like to read book descriptions because they can be misleading. If I have misunderstood a book’s intention, most of the time I can get over it and see the book for what it’s for but in this case, I couldn’t.
This book was 75% about crushing on boys and dealing with parents and 25% about Islamophobia and that would have been fine if the author was adding something new to the former. Although Maya was a likable and relatable character, I’ve read her voice before. I’ve read the same conversations she has with her parents in several other books. The conversations were fine, the execution and pacing were fine but when this is the fourth book in 2017 where I’ve read the same topic; it looses its specialness and just becomes more of the same. I also had a problem with the ending and Maya’s handling of the situation of her parents. The author failed to show anger or resentment but instead Maya just goes to prom like everything’s peaches.
This book is getting lots of stars and praise and buzz and that’s great because it means more own voices novels but at the same time this book lacks depth. This book does not get into the nastiness of Islamophobia; it’s a middle grade safe expose of islamophobia.
Here’s my point:
This book is a fluffy book that displays a conflict between an American born Indian girl and her strict cultural parents. It’s about an Indian girl who likes the good Indian boy but also likes the white christian boy. Those of us who are unfamiliar get to see an Indian wedding and learn about Muslim dating rituals and all of this is great. Even though the writing isn’t deep, the subject matter is educational.
What you are not going to get from this book is something similar to The Hate U Give so if you think that’s what you’re getting, find another book. THUG focuses primarily on the mistreatment of blacks by law enforcement and the prejudices people have. We see Star really struggle with her identity as being the only black girl in her school while in Filters, Maya just says she the only Indian but as the reader we don’t see what it’s like for Maya. In THUG, Thomas takes peer racism to a level that non browns may not be aware of-making little comments and passing it off as jokes. That is showing the reader a different type of racism that’s not commonly discussed. In Filters, a peer calls Maya a raghead and although that’s racist, it’s something we’d expect to read in a book about Islamophobia. I’m not Indian or Muslim and I’d like to learn about other ways people show their racism. I am black, however, and I’ve been in a situation where a co-worker would call me a different stereotypical black girl name on a daily basis-Yolanda; Shaquanda; LaKiesha. That’s something that white people may not be aware of. It’s not jokes; it’s racist.
Basically with Filters, you are getting a light hearted book that begins a small conversation about Islamophobia and there’s nothing wrong with that. I, however, didn’t know this was light and normally I can take it for what it is but the dialogue wasn’t special and nothing new was added to the cultural conflict with parents theme.
Bang Bang Rating: