I really enjoyed The Size of a Mustard Seed by Umm Juwayriyah. I’m not Muslim, but I would tell anyone not to shy away from such a great story simply because it doesn’t come from their faith tradition. The cusp of this work is family, friends, faith and community. The message is universal.
Jameelah Salih is a modern woman, trying to live at the level of her faith which can be difficult at times no matter what your belief system but especially being big sister/college student/business owner like she is. Sometimes she gets a little too self-righteous (like with Shevon and Nichelle) but she holds herself to the same standards when she fails so the character is very ‘real’. You can identify with what she’s going through. There are so many expectations on Jameelah and her faith is her key to staying grounded and keeping it together.
The characters kept me laughing with real life family situations, especially the sibling relationships between Jameelah, Khadijah and Adam. And I just love Jameelah’s dad. The sense of community makes you feel at home with Jameelah and her cohorts as they go about their daily routine at Covered Pearls Salon. As for the two suitors that find their way into her life, both of them are righteous brothers, just on different paths and it was refreshing to see the struggle wasn’t ‘good brother’ versus ‘crumby brother’ but rather what was best for Jameelah’s deen (way of life). I won’t give away the storyline, but I knew who was right for her from the start and the reader will be happy with the outcome.
I hope a sequel is in the works because there are many subplots that pop up along the way that beg for their own story (like her brother Adam and new convert Nichelle). Great novel!