Alicia Erian Towelhead: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9781416589303

Towelhead: A Novel

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The year is 1991. When Jasira's mother finds out what has been going on between her boyfriend and her thirteen-year-old daughter, she has to make a choice -- and chooses to send Jasira off to Houston Texas, to live with her father. A remote disciplinarian prone to explosive rages, Jasira's father is unable to show his daughter the love she craves -- and far less able to handle her feelings about her changing body.

Bewildered by extremes of parental scrutiny and neglect, Jasira begins to look elsewhere for affection. Saddam Hussein has invaded Kuwait, and high school has become a lonely place for a "towelhead." When her father meets, and forbids her to see, her boyfriend, it becomes lonelier still. But there is always Mr. Vuoso -- a neighboring army reservist whose son Jasira babysits. Mr. Vuoso, as Jasira discovers, has an extensive collection of Playboy magazines. And he doesn't seem to think there's anything wrong with Jasira's body at all.

Painfully funny, tender, and sexually charged, Towelhead is that rare thing: a gloriously readable novel unafraid to take risks. The story of a girl failed by her parents and by a conflicted America, Towelhead is an ultimately redemptive and moving work that none of us can afford to ignore.

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Review:

Thirteen-year-old Jasira wants what every girl wants: love and acceptance and the undivided attention of whoever she's with. And if she can¹t get that from her parents, then why not from her mother's boyfriend, or her father's muscle-bound neighbor, Mr. Vuoso? Alicia Erian¹s incandescent debut novel, Towelhead, will ring true for readers who remember the rarely poetic transition from childhood to young adulthood. Jasira is a creature of contradiction: both innocent (reading romantic intentions into the grossest displays of lust) and oddly clear-sighted, especially when it comes to the imbalance of power, and the things we do for love. When her mother exiles her to Houston to live with Jasira's strict, quick-to-anger Lebanese father, she quickly learns what aspects of herself to suppress in front of him. In private, however, she conducts her sexual awakening with all the false confidence that pop culture and her neighbor's Playboy magazines have provided.

Jasira tells her story with candor and glimmers of dark, unexpected humor--as when she describes her mother's boyfriend Barry's assistance in her personal grooming: "A week later, Barry broke down and told her the truth. That he had shaved me himself. That he had been shaving me for weeks. That he couldn't seem to stop shaving me." The freshness of her narrative voice sets Towelhead apart from the sentimental or purely harsh treatment of similar subject matter elsewhere, and makes the novel a promising follow-up to Erian¹s well-regarded short story collection, The Brutal Language of Love. --Regina Marler

About the Author:

Alicia Erian is the author of a short story collection, The Brutal Language of Love. Her work has appeared in Playboy, Zoetrope, Nerve, The Iowa Review, and other publications. This is her first novel.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780743244947: Towelhead: A Novel

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ISBN 10:  074324494X ISBN 13:  9780743244947
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2005
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9780743285124: Towelhead: A Novel

Simon ..., 2006
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9780747267041: Towelhead

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9780747270676: Towelhead

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