Did you hear the one about the kangaroo and the Karachi comedian? Well, if you haven't yet chuckled over this unlikely combination, it's time to investigate Sami Shah's story of life in Western Australia, his new home. Pakistani born and bred, with a sojourn in the United States for tertiary education, Sami Shah is well qualified to reflect on the tension between Muslim orthodoxy and Western culture, modern Islam, and the migrant experience, and he doesn't hold back ...
Confronting, inspiring and capable of inducing involuntary laughter, this is an engaging memoir infused with the humour and insight one would expect from Pakistan's first stand-up comedian. [Larger font]
Comments from Groups
"The book is written with humour, as you would expect, but it's also written with compassion - no-one is denigrated or written off."
"A fascinating account of life in Karachi with many details of family life, schooling, business and leisure."
"I found it an exceedingly interesting book overall."
"It is a frank and often humorous account of Sami's life. He doesn't shirk the hurt of being the butt of racial prejudice."
It's an insider's account of the life of well-off, educated city people in Pakistan."
"I think this would be an important and valuable additIon to the BDS catalogue."
Only 3 out of our 8 members read past the first couple of chapters, and those 3 skim-read or skipped large chunks. The other 5 of us couldn't get past the bad language or the style of writing. The members of our group that did read some/most of the book said it did raise some interesting points regarding racism and the author was to be admired for his achievements in standing against cultural issues. Our main comment/criticism is that the catalogue does not mention that the book contains bad language... this and "contains violence" in the catalogue would certainly help in selection of books.
We enjoyed reading this book, and felt more informed about the current generation in Pakistan. Rather crude language at times, but lots of humour. Very good book notes.
Hard to get a feel for whether the group really enjoyed this book. I thought it was great: learned a lot about Pakistan, and it was very funny and touching as well. An easy read but fascinating.
All enjoyed this book. So many fascinating parts to it; life in Karachi, the different religions, the importance of becoming educated and all the funny parts as well.
We thought Sami was very brave, and well read. We enjoyed his sense of humour and the way he used it to convey challenges.It's interesting to see the world through another's eyes without constant media hype. Very insightful into life in Pakistan during his childhood.
Some lively discussion had about the conditions in Pakistan, particularly the dreadful bombings we hadn't realised were so frequent. The humour and bad language weren't to our taste.
The group was split between "likes" and "dislikes". Some enjoyed the insights into Pakistan and Karachi in particular, and the author's explanation of the varieties of Muslim adherence ( the idea of "cultural Muslim" as opposed to "religious/faithful Muslim"). Others found the book fragmented and lacking in coherence.
An important view from an 'insider' in Pakistan. However the writing - swearing and colloquial style - didn't engage the group. Many said they couldn't get into it.
Unusually for this group, everybody finished the book and enjoyed reading it. An excellent holiday read. Informative, enlightening and occasionally confronting. We want to know more about Sami Shah ( why hasn't he toured in the NZ Comedy Festival yet) and especially we'd like to meet his wife Ishma. She sounds awesome!