Publication date: June 11, 2013 by Thomas Dunne Books
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours for a fair review
Muslim bad girl Zainab Mir has just landed a job working for a post-feminist, Republican Senate candidate. Her best friend Amra Abbas is about to make partner at a top Boston law firm. Together they’ve thwarted proposal-slinging aunties, cultural expectations, and the occasional bigot to succeed in their careers. What they didn’t count on? Unlikely men and geopolitical firestorms.
When a handsome childhood friend reappears, Amra makes choices that Zainab considers so 1950s—choices that involve the perfect Banarasi silk dress and a four-bedroom house in the suburbs. After hiding her long work hours during their courtship, Amra struggles to balance her demanding job and her unexpectedly traditional new husband.
Zainab has her own problems. She generates controversy in the Muslim community with a suggestive magazine spread and friendship with a gay reporter. Her rising profile also inflames neocons like Chase Holland, the talk radio host who attacks her religion publicly but privately falls for her hard. When the political fallout from a terrorist attempt jeopardizes Zainab’s job and protests surrounding a woman-led Muslim prayer service lead to violence, Amra and Zainab must decide what they’re willing to risk for their principles, their friendship, and love.
Jennifer Zobair’s Painted Hands is The Namesake meets Sex and the City, an engaging and provocative debut novel about the friendships, careers, and the love lives of American Muslim women.
Painted Hands sounded like a fun, interesting read with a new and different perspective. A different perspective for me anyway. I did find the book to be fun and interesting, and despite the fact that the novel tells the story of these young, American Muslim women, I found that there were many things I could relate to regarding their life choices and pressures from family and friends.
I appreciated that many of the issues between conservative and liberal issues in the book were not just religious, but political and economic as well. I found the characters to be diverse and believable. I really like Zainab and found her developing relationship with Chase to be very entertaining while at the same time, helpful in examining biases and personal motivations.
Amra, as the other main character, presents a more traditional view of life, but still a liberated young female lawyer, who wants it all - including the husband and children and the partnership in her firm.
Hayden rounds out the cast of young professional women in the book. Hayden is a troubled young woman who seeks out and uses her conversion to Islam as a place to hide and maybe heal from her pain. She was a very interesting character and helps in the explaining of different views of Islam. I was happy to see her grow and learn and finally become able to see herself and the people around her more clearly.
As I read Painted Hands, I was struck by how familiar many of the issues were - family demands and expectations contrasted with work demands and personal goals and dreams and always, regardless of religion, the differing ways of understanding and observing our religions. I thought that Jennifer Zobair did a wonderful job of showing just how similar we all are in spite of our different religious and/or political beliefs. I would recommend Painted Hands to anyone who enjoys women's fiction and anyone who is curious about how Muslim women see their lives and the world.
About Jennifer ZobairJennifer Zobair grew up in Iowa and attended Smith College and Georgetown Law School. She has practiced corporate and immigration law and, as a convert to Islam, has been a strong advocate for Muslim women’s rights. Her essays have been published in The Rumpus and The Huffington Post. Painted Hands is her first novel. Jennifer lives with her husband, three children, and two dogs outside of Boston. For more information, please visit www.JenniferZobair.com.
Jennifer’s Tour StopsMonday, September 9th: Bookalicious Mama
Tuesday, September 10th: Bibliophiliac
Wednesday, September 11th: Book Club Classics!
Thursday, September 12th: Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, September 16th: BoundbyWords
Tuesday, September 17th: A Book Geek
Wednesday, September 18th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, September 19th: A Bookish Affair
Monday, September 23rd: BookNAround
Monday, September 23rd: Bibliotica
Tuesday, September 24th: Doing Dewey
Wednesday, September 25th: Stephany Writes
Thursday, September 26th: Drey’s Library
Monday, September 30th: Books in the City
Thursday, October 3rd: Reflections of a Bookaholic
Friday, October 4th: Not in Jersey
Monday, October 7th: Dreaming in Books
Tuesday, October 8th: Entomology of a Bookworm