Book Review: how to cure a ghost by Fariha Róisín

how to cure a ghost by Fariha Róisín is a poignant book of poetry and prose about Róisín’s struggle with her family, her identity (religious and cultural), and self-hate. Through the book, she discusses her familial struggles, and the mental health issues of her mother, as well as the unique struggles of growing up a Muslim immigrant in a primarily White country.

I have to admit, the subject matter examined in the book is most definitely deep, and important to discuss, especially today. However, Róisín’s execution is clunky- she doesn’t have the flawless command of the English language necessary to pull off the style of writing she’s attempting. The word choice and diction are often awkward- the use of parenthetical phrases throughout her pieces disrupt the flow of the work. The illustrations fit with the theme of the book, but are also disruptive to the flow of works.

Overall, I’d give this book a 6/10. I really appreciated the kinds of issues Róisín examined, and I enjoyed the references to South Asian words, foods, and customs peppered throughout the book. However, her implementation falls far short of what I expected- leading to shallow, surface-level analysis bloated with painful word choice and strange slang. This is the first time I’ve ever said that I wouldn’t recommend this book to the average reader 😦

-Vaidehi B.

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