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Review: Tiny Dancer by Anthony Flacco

“I had to admit I harbored the rudiments of racism, an unconscious attitude that I fight daily, but that none of us can totally escape,” writes Mary Pipher in her book The Middle of Everywhere. How true! As refugee committees we discuss who to sponsor even though in our mission statement we express the desire to help anyone from anywhere. We worry if our country will stay ‘Christian’ and be trouble free. We stereotype and show our fear of strangers especially those coming from Muslim nations, I would argue, because of their aptitude for violence and their notorious low value on females. Let’s be careful not to miss the opportunity to show Christ’s love to the strangers we call Muslims who are no strangers to Him. Through reading we can get a glimpse into the lives of those that one day might not be strangers to us.

For me, Tiny Dancer was just such a glimpse. This nonfiction novel shows a father’s love for his grotesquely burned child and the length he goes to get help. The child—a daughter  called Zubaida. The country—Afghanistan.

Author Anthony Flacco is very honest about Afghani culture and the ruthlessness of the Taliban. American life as experienced by Mohammed and Zubaida is also an eye-opener for them and us. The miracle of Zubaida’s surgical transformation is the beginning of an inner transformation and a fulfilling life in her homeland that involves her family and community.    

In his epilogue Flacco writes, “The ride that we take when we follow Zubaida’s long journey leads us away from a storybook mirror showing her restored reflection. It leaves each one of us alone in front of an internal mirror, challenged by our own.”

Tiny Dancer is a book not to be missed!

[Image: Flickr user Barbourians]


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