Author: Tanaz Bhathena
Genres: Young Adult
Pub Date: Feb. 2018 (read Apr. 2018 as Audiobook)
I listened to A Girl Like That as an audiobook and I’m really not sure what to make of it. I wonder what it would be like to read as an actual book because I found it extremely hard to follow as an audiobook, which makes it hard to review.
The story was super interesting in that it takes place in Saudi Arabia. I haven’t read any books about Saudi before, but I know they are not a very advanced nation when it comes to women’s rights. Most notorious I think is that women aren’t allowed to drive. This is really just the tip of the iceberg though and this book made me furious on behalf of women living in Saudi Arabia and the injustice of how they are treated by men, the government, and the religious police. The depth to which sexism and rape culture is ingrained into society in this book was truly frightening, but sadly not unbelievable.
This book tells the story of teenager Zarin Wadia, who ends up dead in a car crash with a boy named Porus (not a spoiler, happens in the first chapter). Rumours had been speculating about what kind of girl Zarin was and that her loose morals led her to this grizzly end, but as the story flashbacks we learn more about her character and what kind of girl she actually was. The pressures and strains placed on her by her family and classmates, and the injustice of what it means to be powerless and a woman in Saudi Arabia.
Its told from several different points of view and I think this is what confused me because it’s not always evident in the audiobook what character is narrating. Both Porus and Zarin narrate, along with a number of their classmates. I really wanted to like this and I definitely appreciate the author for telling this story, but sadly it just wasn’t an enjoyable reading experience for me. I might have enjoyed this better as a book rather than in audio form because I also didn’t like the narrators, but 2.5 stars for this experience.