Top critical review
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Good ideas but poorly executed.
on 9 November 2009
I read this book following on from Ed Hussain's The Islamist. That was a coherent, well written piece which worked well as a book. Unfortunately, whilst I admire Ali for her many achievements, this book is not one of them. The chapters were disjointed and the book did not have a narrative arc- it read as a collection of articles/ speeches rather than a cohesive book- whilst I appreciate this book was designed as a polemic, many of these (see Christopher Hitchens etc) have a broader arguement which is developed through the book, this on the other hand was trying to serve too many purposes. It was part polemic, part advice book, part biography.
In terms of the arguements within, I entirely agreed with her views, and what she has done in opening up the plight of some Muslim women in the west deserves many plaudits- unfortunately I think other reviewers are lost in their admiration for her as a person to see clearly her deficits as a writer. This is one instance where a ghost writer or better editting would have been much appreciated. However, in contrast to my other points, the screenplay for 'Submission' was fantastic, and surprised me with how tame it was- I was expecting something much worse from all the outcry about it- it is horrifying to realise that Theo Van Gogh lost his life over this, a simple presentation of the Koran and the situation that women can find themselves in within Islam.