“Love, Hate & Other Filters”: A book review
Lights, camera, action, or order in the court! In Samira Ahmed’s New York Times best-selling novel, “Love, Hate & Other Filters,” Maya, the main protagonist, is torn between the choice of pursuing her parent’s expectations or following her dreams.
The novel takes a deep dive into the cultural experiences of an Indian teenage girl and what she will face after an atrocious incident. With chaos between society, romance and family, Maya is left between once-in-a-lifetime decisions. She flounders between all the choices, leaving readers to ponder the different lives of individuals living in the same world.
In Maya Aziz’s life, she deals with the romance between a childhood crush and a boy her parents find suitable. At the same time, she also struggles with the parental expectations to study to become a doctor or lawyer, which creates disagreements when her dream is to become a filmmaker.
Out in society, a terrorist attack happened that is suspected to be caused by an Islamic suicide bomber. The bombing caused Maya and her family to deal with racism and hate crimes. Maya now copes with Islamophobia, which creates a barrier between society and herself as people now see her as “…a presumed terrorist first and an American second” (Ahmed 126).
Throughout the novel, Ahmed does an exceptional job when it comes to addressing the barrier between Maya and society and discussing the struggles as Maya finds her own path.
With the weight of the decisions, the readers continue to grow more interested in Maya as she chooses the best solution, such as when Maya decides to depart with Kareem, the boy her parents find suitable. Maya’s choice developed suspense and kept the readers hooked as she subsequently went against her parents’ belief of what is adequate for her, which is the start of when she pursued her own dreams.
As a reader, this book offers a plethora of connections since the setting is set in a high school timeline, with crushes, dances and friends. I continue to be absorbed frequently throughout the novel as it continues to associate with the life that I am living, creating a sense of shared experience. I particularly enjoyed how Ahmed portrayed a different perspective on how not everyone lives through the same “high school dream,” which is stereotypically depicted as perfect romance, grades and everything going smoothly in life, as witnessed in movies.
All of this contradicted the novel, which contained chaotic situations and tribulations seen in the real world. The contrast was intriguing since it opened my eyes to other people’s struggles, making the book page-turning as I observed new differences. “Love, Hate and Other Filters” was phenomenally written by Samir Ahmed, allowing readers to connect, see distinctions, and empathize with Maya.
Overall, Samira Ahmed includes a variety of conflicts between romance, family, and college. “Love, Hate and Other Filters” illustrates the perfect example of high school life and addresses how one faces racism. With a different perspective of an Indian teen’s high school life, the book continues to attract young readers. It may be especially appealing to individuals who like books with a combination of humor, atrocity, and romance that add to the high school experience.