Leta’s Book Review: All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

The only thing I know to expect from Sabaa Tahir is brilliance. I haven’t finished her series An Ember in the Ashes because I don’t ever want it to end. It’s an incredibly interesting and complex story that takes place in a fantasy world and deals with a lot of heavy topics in amazing ways. When I heard that she was writing a contemporary fiction stand-alone, I instantly added it to my pre-order list. I suspected that it was going to be a well-written and intense read, which is exactly my kind of novel outside fantasy.

All My Rage takes place at two distinct times: Lahore, Pakistan and Juniper, California. Lahore is where we hear Misbah’s story as she grows up, gets married, and moves forward onto greater things. In Juniper, California, we meet Misbah’s son Salahudin and his best friend Noor. Both Noor and Salahudin, or Sal, are in desperate and terrible situations with little to no support outside of each other. As Sal works to save the family motel and Noor applies to college to escape Juniper and her uncle, they struggle to navigate a world of love and lies that threatens to disrupt their carefully laid plans time and again.

This is a novel that should be taught in high schools. I know that it would get people up in a huff and it most likely won’t be allowed in schools, but I believe that studying All My Rage would have great value. It is raw and open, truthful in every sense. There is no shying away from anything while reading All My Rage. It isn’t a happy book. It is, however, an important one.

Noor and Salahudin are incredibly complex characters, dealing with normal teenager issues as well as larger, adult issues that they should never have to deal with. They are both strong and brave, but each one is uniquely flawed. Noor is desperate to escape her uncle and his wrath but constantly reminds herself of how good he has been to her and therefore, never asks for help. Salahudin is trying to save his family’s motel since his mother has died and his father is an alcoholic but takes extreme steps to save the motel, without any guarantee of success and a whole lot of risk. In many ways, these two are opposites and if either one of them was trusting enough of the other, they might have been able to work together to find better and safer solutions to both of their problems. My point is that I love their complexities and their flaws. They’re both so incredibly human.

I felt so many emotions while reading this novel. I know that it won’t be one for every reader, and I think it’s worth making sure you’re in the right headspace before reading it. I feel very deeply when I read, and All My Rage is going to tear you up into pieces before contenting itself with giving you a satisfying ending. Sabaa Tahir is a master at manipulating the emotions of her readers (just ask anyone who has read An Ember in the Ashes series). Her skills shine brightly in All My Rage, and I can’t wait to see what she writes next, no matter the genre.


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