The Wrong End of the Table: A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab American Woman Just Trying to Fit in

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I wanted this memoir to be written better so I could assign it a higher rating. Salman has valuable insight into an experience that many are interested in, but few understand. That is coming to the U.S. as a toddler and growing up in a setting that was often at odds with her Muslim –American upbringing.

Salman through her stories reminds us that as a culture, we are just beginning to value the experience of first-generation and second-generation immigrants, especially those who are Muslim or from the Middle East.

However, I found her memoir to be highly repetitive and her extensive use of footnotes a tiresome narrative device. One footnote a chapter is one thing, but multiple footnotes every page is another. I want to be careful to say that I can understand Salman’s adolescent experience was difficult in ways I can’t appreciate, but instead of each of her stories bringing to light a new perspective or experience, most of them focused on feeling like a geek or “spazz”, and that is what is repeated throughout the book.

I enjoyed the second part of the book more, when she talks about attending graduate school in LA and her religious and cultural identification as Muslim after September 11, 2001. I think this where Salman really excelled in her memoir. Her considerations of what it means to be Muslim when you are not a devout Muslim, but many people in the U.S. think all Muslims are devout Muslims, are the starting point for a conversation I think all of us should be having with our friends and neighbors across the U.S.


Reviewed By:

Author Ayser Salman
Star Count 3/5
Format Trade
Page Count 288 pages
Publisher Skyhorse Publishing
Publish Date 2019-03-05
ISBN 9781510742079
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue September 2019
Category Humor-Nonfiction
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