Friday, February 15, 2019

Fact Friday and Audiobook Review: Proud (Young Reader's Edition): living my American dream by Ibtihaj Muhammad

Proud: living my American dream by Ibtihaj Muhammad with Lori L. Tharps. Unabridged audiobook on 8 compact discs. ~9.2 hours.  Read by the author. Hachette Audio, 2018. 9781549172908. (Review of audiobook borrowed from the public library. Own Young Reader's Edition.)

Fact Friday features Proud: living my American dream by Ibtihaj Muhammad. Muhammad is the first hijabi to win Olympic bronze and one of few people of color in the predominantly white sport of fencing. Her memoir covers her life growing up in Maplewood, NJ, a suburb of Newark through the 2016 Olympics, where she and her teammates captured the bronze medal in the saber event. 

As the only Muslim in her class, she often encountered racism and micro-aggressions. But when she began wearing hijab, comments and taunts escalated and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, she often faced blatant hatred. She found strength in her religion, her close-knit family and sport. However, competing in sport was often a challenge due to the necessity to be covered modestly. When Muhammad was in eighth grade, her mother noticed the fencing team practicing at their local high school. The team members were covered from head to toe in protective clothing. Ibtihaj would not stand out. But, she eventually would stand out as a fencer.

Participating in a predominantly white sport as the first muslim athlete brought many challenges, adding to the stress and loneliness of high caliber training and competition. Honestly, I don't know how she did it. The racism and animosity were relentless and infuriating. This is an inspirational and important story. Hand to fans of sports memoirs and fencing fans.

I accidentally ordered the wrong edition of the audiobook from the public library. The adult version is narrated by the author, whose performance, though earnest lacked variety of expression and nuance. The Young Reader's Audiobook is read by someone else, I assume a professional reader and will check that out when my hold comes up. I recommend reading this with one's eyes. 

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