Book Review: Towelhead by Alicia Erian


This was an impulse read and a way to get out of a reading slump I was in. I typically dont go for YA (young adult), but I was intrigued by the title and synopsis.

About the Book

Author: Alicia Erian

Published: April 2006

Pages: 336

Other works: some short stories, directing and screenwriting

Synopsis

Thirteen-year-old Jasira wants what every girl wants: love and acceptance and the undivided attention of whoever she’s with. And if she can’t get that from her parents, then why not from her mother’s boyfriend, or her father’s muscle-bound neighbor, Mr. Vuoso? Alicia Erian’s incandescent debut novel, Towelhead, will ring true for readers who remember the rarely poetic transition from childhood to young adulthood. Jasira is a creature of contradiction: both innocent (reading romantic intentions into the grossest displays of lust) and oddly clear-sighted, especially when it comes to the imbalance of power, and the things we do for love. When her mother exiles her to Houston to live with Jasira’s strict, quick-to-anger Lebanese father, she quickly learns what aspects of herself to suppress in front of him. In private, however, she conducts her sexual awakening with all the false confidence that pop culture and her neighbor’s Playboy magazines have provided.

My Review

Jasira, the main character in Towelhead has the most gas-lighting, narcissistic parents on the planet. Her mother puts men before her and only wants to be bothered with her when it benefits her is some way. And her father is ridiculously strict and misogynistic. He is a Lebanese immigrant making Jasira half Lebanese. But this is only prominent in the story because of the neighbor’s kid who calls her a towelhead repeatedly. The same neighbor who takes advantage of Jasira in ways that should land him in prision. Almost all the adults in this poor girls life were garbage. 

I enjoyed the story and really felt bad for Jasira because she allowed people to manipulate her. Granted, she is a teenager; but I wish Erian would have given her a little more umph. The story kind of takes place in a bubble that consist of her neighbors, a few friends from school (a boyfriend, I guess) and her erratic, misogynistic father. Luckily, she did end up having a few people who kind of took her under their wings. But I constantly got the vibe that everyone wanted to take from Jasira. I wish she was not always the victim. 

Based on the experiences Jasira had, I would love to see Erian write more adult fiction. Honestly, I feel as if Jasira lived an adult life and had to make decisions that a 15 year-old girl is not ready to make. She was constantly but in situations where she had to choose which adult she needed or wanted in her life. But as I said, they all seemed to be out to take from her; either emotionally or physically.

Overall, I have this book 3 ⭐️! I enjoyed the book, but it was a little dark and redundant. It got me out of my slump because of the pace and I was able to zip through in a few days. Sometimes that is just what we need. 

I also just found out that this book has been adapted to film. So it’s perfect for the #10book2filmchallenge.

Have you read Towelhead? What did you think? 

Happy Reading

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Towelhead by Alicia Erian

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