Thank you to the publisher, Pantheon via First to Read (Penguin), for the free digital copy to review. All opinions are my own!
Before I get to my review, I want to take a second to let you know of a few upcoming changes to my posting schedule. I recently realized I can have some BIG reading months, and instead of bombarding you with EACH BOOK’s review, it’d be best to just make my ‘My Week in Books’ reviews a little more detailed. Honestly, it feels a little repetitive and unnecessary, and mostly, I don’t want to fill your inbox so much that you unfollow me because it’s too much! So start looking for slightly more detailed reviews in the weekly recap! You can follow my #bookstagram account, @happiestwhenreading, where I will continue to post every book that I read with a #minibookreview.
Now, onto my review of The Other Americans, which is on shelves today!
I haven’t previously read any of Lalami’s work (The Moor’s Account), but I fell in love with this book quickly and easily. The writing was captivating to me and I loved the interplay that all the characters had to each other. It’s an interesting concept to me to realize that, though we may not ‘know’ each other in day-to-day lives, sometimes we have a greater connection to each other that’s boiling, unbeknownst to us, just below the surface. That one’s individual motivations and desires, wants and needs propel us into a world that may be affected collectively by those individual choices. I love the idea of this connectivity even when we’re not aware of it.
At the heart of The Other Americans, we’re trying to figure out how Driss, a Moroccan immigrant, was killed. Was it an accident or a hit-and-run? From there, Lalami introduces us to a wide cast of characters and throughout the book, they each give their personal account of what happened up to, and past, the accident. It sounds confusing, but it’s definitely not because Lalami accomplishes this flawlessly. The stories all flowed together to tell a greater picture about the subtle racism that Muslims continue to face in our society, about grief and how to move forward with your life when you lost such an important person in your life, and new love and the challenges that come with giving yourself to someone else.
I loved this dramatic book and it gave me a lot to think about. It’s complicated and realistic – just like life. We face our own thoughts and ideas and see how those play out around the people around us. It’s interesting and so thought-provoking.