'American Taliban' by Pearl Abraham

(An El Canadu Book Review)

A novel that I just finished reading is, 'American Taliban.'

It's about a teen who's into things like hop-scotch, and candy, and stickers. Oh yes, and then he joins the Taliban.

One thing that made the book a little unbelievable from the start is that the main character drives a Saab. I mean: What kind of a car is that, anyway? And if you own a Saab what happens if the muffler falls off? Do you take it to the former Hummer-Saturn-Isuzu dealer so the guy there can tell you that GM has downsized and gotten rid of a lot of nameplates but, he doesn't think they ever sold that kind of car?

Secondly, the parents of Huron County who want to ban Timothy Findley's, 'The Wars,' are going to be pissed when they find out about, 'American Taliban.' Number of depictions of graphic heterosexual sex = zero. Homosexual? = two.

3/4ths through the book and the main character, John Jude, is asking himself whether everyone in Pakistan is bisexual. And there isn't even a disclaimer on the front cover! So you sit down to read a nice little novel about jihad and then, all of a sudden, it's wham, bam! And it suddenly turns into what Ashley MacIsaac would get up to if he were alone with a bunch of men in the desert.

It's a novel about growing up, cultural and religious identity, the exasperation of being a parent, and the homo-erotic connotations of two men riding around Islamabad on a motorcycle.






All in all the book shows us that repressed homosexuality can be a self-destructive thing. It may lead some to join the Taliban (it may lead others to become the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Harper government).


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