I recently got my hands on a wonderful book, Finding Home by Duaah Hammad, and to say I was amazed and extremely moved is an understatement.
Written as a collection of poems, Hammad tells her story of being the child of Pakistani immigrants in the United States of America. Talking about both the new experiences and struggles, the good times and the bad, the stories told throughout the book show the story of a girl who has spent her life trying to fit two cultures into her life.
“When I was 14, I visited Pakistan for the first time and instantly fell in love I thought, ‘ok this is where I belong’,” said Hammad, talking about when she finally started to embrace her roots. “But the more and more I went back, I realized that the people there were ready to give me a new name tag – ‘too modern’ and sick of trying to fit into two different worlds, I turned to poetry as an outlet for my frustration.”
Being of Indian descent, but having lived in North America almost my entire life, this was something that I could definitely relate to.
Out of everything in the book, this was a poem that really stood out to me:
“You craved the approval of children with blue eyes
One day you went to your mother
And asked if you could dye your hair
She hesitated but asked what color”
-Platinum blonde please
This passage hit too close to home, and made me think about how many years I spent as a child wanting to “fit in” before finally realizing that I did not need to pretend to be anyone else; I’m enough just the way I am.
Connection to the words and emotions throughout the book, I finished it very quickly. This was a book that really stuck with me, and I think there is something in it for everyone; something that everyone can relate to, especially if you are the child of immigrants.
Finding Home is available for purchase on Amazon.
To learn more about Duaah Hammad, find her on Twitter.
“I came to America when I was 3 years old and at the time I had no idea I would spend the next decade not knowing where I belonged. As I was growing up the urge to fit in was very important to me.” -Duaah Hammad