Book Review | Laughing All the Way to the Mosque by Zarqa Nawaz

Zarqa Nawaz
Advance Reader Copy, 237 pages
Publication date:
June 24th 2014
HarperCollins Canada
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Back in high school, I discovered and fell in love with a Canadian television show called Little Mosque on the Prairie. It was so different from all the other shows I had seen on TV not to mention that it was funny and had a great cast of well written characters. As a result, when I heard that the creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie was coming out with a book that was a sort of memoir, I knew that it would be on my to-read list.

Laughing All the Way to the Mosque is a book that is divided into numerous short chapters, each touching upon different aspects of Islamic culture and the authour’s personal experience with them. I love the earlier chapters more than the later ones since the experiences were awfully relatable to me even though I’m not a Muslim. I can, however definitely relate to the feelings of not fitting in as a kid and feeling like an outsider as I was one of only two Asians in my elementary school which was dominated by Italians.

The chapters that stood out to me were, “Muslim Summer Camp” and “Meeting Sami”. The former was about the time she was left in charge of running a Muslim Summer camp for kids and had no idea what she was doing while the latter recounts her adventures meeting various suitors before she met the man who would later become her husband. Both of these stories were hilarious to read about and they were my two favourites in this book. However my favourite one as it is the chapter that I relate the largely to, would have to be, “Medical School Reject”. For anyone who’s been a student and who has had their plans for after graduation fall apart, Zarqa’s story and journey is a definite must read.

In conclusion, Laughing All the Way to the Mosque is an exceptionally entertaining and comedic look at at one woman’s view of growing up Muslim. I love how the book ends with a chapter titled, “Photos with White Men”. I first heard it on the CBC radio show, DNTO and I loved reading it because of its message that no matter what culture you are, your mother always knows best.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.