Only Half of Me by Rageh Omaar

About the book

A Muslim boy goes to a madrassa in Mogadishu to learn the Koran. His parents take him on two pilgrimages to Mecca. He arrives in Britain as a child just as Somalia collapses into a state of civil war, which will continue throughout his childhood and prevent him from going home. He watches Black Hawk Down in horror. He watches the invasion of Iraq in disbelief. To the media, government and general public, this is the classic background story to the most feared figure of our times: the young, male, black, British, Muslim. It is also the story of Rageh Omaar’s childhood. Rageh Omaar’s unique and profoundly moving book is the story of his childhood in Somalia, his family’s attitude to religion, his double life as a British Muslim and that of other British Muslims: the failed suicide bomber from Somalia; his cousin who was stabbed in the neck on a London street on 8th July 2005. Full of humanity and rage, empathy and insight, “Only Half of Me” takes us into lives that are widely misunderstood, and tries to make sense of our own fractured world.

Reviewed by Anton Bookies:

There was a mixed reaction amongst the group from great interest in his description of Somali culture to ‘a complete turnoff’, but it certainly stimulated a very lively discussion.

Star rating: ***

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3 thoughts on “Only Half of Me by Rageh Omaar”

  1. Review by The Benches Reading Group:
    We found the book disappointing – unable to reach any conclusion as to whether the author actually felt that the ‘conflict’ was paramount or even could be resolved. Coldly written….by a journalist reporting facts. Last paragraph very pessimistic offering little hope.
    Star rating: *


  2. Review by Enjoying Books:
    It was interesting to hear of the authors other side (i.e. Muslim upbringing). However, although interesting in parts we didn’t feel it gave a balanced view or a deeper insight into the problem. Rather ‘bitty’ and lacking any humour.
    Star rating: **


  3. Review by Goodworth Clatford WI Reading Group:
    Vigorous discussion. Interesting/a different background/family history/presentation of a totally unknown (to us) nationality upbringing. Some questions not answered. Nice to have a non-fiction for a change.
    Star rating: **


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