‘All My Rage’ by Sabaa Tahir

“Who my child becomes is not the sum of what happened to him.”
― Sabaa Tahir, All My Rage

Author Sabaa Tahir is back with a breathtakingly destructive novel, All My Rage, about love, regrets and forgiveness. I should have known it would wreak havoc on my emotions based on the descriptions I read, but I wasn’t prepared for this absolute annihilation of my feelings all wrapped up in a beautifully written yet devastating novel about prejudice, racism, and growing up surrounded by love and loss.

All My Rage is told in flashes: the story of Misbah then, a newly married woman living in Lahore, Pakistan and the stories of Salahudin and Noor now, two best friends growing up in Juniper, California. Misbah starts her life as a newly married to Toufiq in Pakistan, but their young lives are upended by tragedy. The two move to the United States and open a motel, hoping for a new start for their young family.

Salahudin and Noor have been friends for twelve years. In fact, they are more than friends, they’re family. Having met in elementary school when Noor moved to the area, the two bond and accept their lives growing up as outcasts in this desert town in California. All is fine in their world until The Fight, which shatters their relationship swiftly and abruptly.

Salahudin is struggling to run his family’s motel as his mother’s health swiftly fails and his father falls deeper into alcoholism. All Noor wants is to apply to college and escape Juniper forever. The obstacle: her enraged and wrathful uncle and the family liquor store she has been forced to work at for years. His rage leaves no option for her to apply to college and leave, so all of her hopes burn in secret. The path Sal chooses to save the motel explodes in both his and Noor’s faces one night, destroying their friendship yet again and leaving the two forced to decide what they are willing to do to overcome the obstacles in their lives.

“Rage can fuel you. But grief gnaws at you slow, a termite nibbling at your soul until you’re a whisper of what you used to be.”
― Sabaa Tahir, All My Rage

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