Me and My Big Mouth's suggested read of Unimagined a Muslim boy meets the West by Imran Ahmad is mission accomplished and yes, I'd have jumped board meetings and dashed round to a secret agent with this one too.
Nice work Mr Pack.
Life for Simon Templar wannabee Imran begins in mid-monsoon in 1962. What follows is a mixture of memoir interwoven with a lifelong (to date) and exceptionally well-balanced examination of comparative religion through Imran's questioning Muslim eyes.
Doesn't that sound boring?
But no, far from. I was hanging on very detail of his life in Hampton (I know someone else who lives there...) because he delineates racism, apartness, adolescence, student life, religion and so much more through his own very unique perspective and we also get to revisit the 70's and the 80's and all those little things we'd forgotten about.
Triumph Toledos, haven't seen one of those in years.
It's a part-funny part-serious book and it works like a dream.
But the bit that had me enthralled was Imran's time at Stirling University and this had me constantly calling out to Offspringette, still resident here in Devon post-Oz but back to Glasgow very soon.
Which hall were you in? Imran was in AK Davidson (...Andrew Stewart)
Oh look he mentions Loch Airthrey and Bridge of Allan (...really?)
You could see the Wallace monument from your room couldn't you? (...sometimes)
Oh guess what? He's just had coffee in the MacRobert (...the MacBob, mother)
Did you walk up the Dumyat? (...do you mean the duh-my-at?)
I remember the day in 1999 very clearly when we deposited Offspringette 500 miles from home in her breeze block cell to begin a long 4 years at Stirling University and the pesky 3rd year American Exchange (Lawrence, Kansas) which had been half the point of going all the way to Scotland.
It all proved terminal for our old Shogun so no wonder Imran had trouble in a Renault 5. We are in fact better known at Tebay services than our local pub.
Originally apparently a mediocre looking self-published book with a cover that Imran says he spent at least an hour working on, Unimagined is now reformatted into a special and I think important book with the added bonus of that perfectly lovely gorgeous little cuddly Imran on the front.
I loved the book, but more than that I love Imran's planned book launch in support of The Shooting Star Children's Hospice on Saturday March 3rd from 2pm-6pm at Hampton School.
This is all very good indeed.