Unimagined: A Muslim Boy Meets the West is a delightful memoir about a young Muslim boy, Imran Ahmed, growing up and coming to terms with the world and all its faults. It is at times funny and at others times sad. Imran takes us on his life’s journey with him and through his writing we experience the prejudices, insecurities and revelations right along with him.
I enjoyed the author’s sense of humor. He was able to not only look at the bright side in all things, he also was able to joke about it when it was often at his own expense. I admit, the prejudices made me mad but the way the author handled it was outstanding. I laughed out loud reading about Imran learning about Jesus even though he is not supposed to believe in him and he is not sure when he exsisted! He thinks it is possible that Mohammed and Jesus could have made everything up! These are the questions that go though the minds of children and Imran was no different.
The chapters go from Imran’s birth through his adulthood. His childhood was often confusing for him. We all know how important it is to fit in and for our author it was not always easy. Imagine being a Muslim but not understanding what it really means or why the rituals are so important. That is what it was like for Imran and Islam. He did learn and he did question and I enjoyed following him while he found his way.
My favorite part of the book was the insight that the author gave me into Islam – the beliefs, the rituals and the reasons behind them. I understand so much more after reading Unimagined. It also reinforced my belief that there are many paths to God and none are all right or all wrong. This is not a book that preaches religion, it just tells the story of a boy finding his way in the world.
Unimagined is a book that should be read by all. There is a lot to learn and Imran Ahmed is a great teacher.