A timely novel about the radicalization of a Muslim teen in California - about where identity truly lies and how we find it.
Laguna Beach, California, 2010. Reza Courdee, a 14-year-old straight-A student and chemistry whiz, takes his first hit of pot. In as long as it takes to inhale and exhale, he is transformed from the high-achieving son of Iranian immigrants into a happy-go-lucky stoner. He loses his virginity, takes up surfing, and sneaks away to all-night raves. For the first time, Reza - now Rez - feels like an American teen. Life is smooth; even lying to his strict parents comes easily.
But then he changes again, falling out with the bad boy surfers and in with a group of kids more awake to the world around them, who share his background, and whose ideas fill him with a very different sense of purpose. Within a year Reza and his girlfriend are making their way to Syria to be part of a Muslim nation rising from the ashes of the civil war.
Timely, nuanced, and emotionally forceful, A Good Country is a gorgeous meditation on modern life, religious radicalization, and a young man caught among vastly different worlds. What we are left with at the dramatic end is not an assessment of good or evil, East versus West, but a lingering question that applies to all modern souls: Do we decide how to live, or is our life decided for us?
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A very important contribution
Lot's of cursing, drug use and sex between teens
I get this is the way some teens live and speak and frolic, but it is so obsessive at the beginning of the book, I can't imagine reading another novel from this author.
Use illusions instead of all the foul language, sexual descriptions, drug use and gang warfare, was just too much...rather than the story leading the story, these elements overwhelmed the story. I heard about the story in an interview on PBS, after listening to the first 45 minutes I returned it for a refund.
Voices and cadence and characters were excellent, you could really "see" their personalities. Excellent vocal performance.
I was just sad...sad that this was how teens treat each other, and use each other in the haze of drug use and rebellion.
Choose another read, there are better ways to tell this much needed story.