All My Rage: A delve into two worlds


In “All my Rage”, Tahir collides worlds to create a masterpiece that beautifully navigates the sorrows and love of everyday life.

For someone unfamiliar with Punjabi culture, which is within the larger umbrella of Indian/Pakistani culture, reading Sabha Tahir’s “All my Rage” may be a little puzzling. Beautifully described aspects such as chai, the Punjabi language and the brown experience play into the mesmerizing plot and characters of the book. But regardless of your background, because Tahir will immerse you into this world no matter what. This world, not just of culture, but of universal themes such as sorrow and love. “All My Rage” will make you feel like you’re another character living in Tahir’s world, going along for the emotional ride.

All My Rage speaks well to a teenage audience. Tahir follows the bond between two characters: Salahudin and Noor. Madly in love, Salahudin and Noor are Punjabi-American teenagers who are scarred from past events and face troubles in the present. Salahudin struggles to cope with his sick mother and alcoholic father, and Noor struggles living with her uncle: who never fails to remind her that he adopted her from the earthquake that took Noor’s family in Pakistan. Despite these troubles, the romance between the two persists.

The beauty in Tahir’s work is not just the relationship between Salahudin and Noor, it’s the emotion of which she delivers every plot point and every event in the book. The sentiment is heaviest in the dispersed chapters of the book from Salahudin’s Mom’s point of view. These chapters start in Pakistan and slowly move to her emigrant story and how she set up ground in California. The chapters provide context for issues in the book, such as Sal’s Father’s battle with alcohol, Noor’s uncle’s character flaws, and Sal’s Mom’s own health issues. The chapters beautifully describe the brown experience: the hopeful stories and the thundering defeat.

Tahir executes this immigrant story so well because she’s able to blend universal themes yet the unique aspects of culture that brown folks here live with. The book’s conflicts such as alcoholism, poverty, physical abuse, drug abuse and unacceptance are issues that unfortunately speak to people from all walks of life. The book’s moments of love, innocence, family and music also play in as the strength for Noor and Salahudin as they battle their demons, and these factors also act as our spine as we face life. The uniqueness however is seen is the racism that Salahudin and Noor face. The ignorance of their religion. But also the meaning that your mother tongue holds. The setting up new roots in a hopeful country.

Neither aspect in the book is emphasized. They run alongside each other. I am a voracious reader. I found Tahir’s writing style to be similar to that of Taylor Jenkins Reid. The way they both pour emotions into their plot. I specifically recommend “Maybe in Another Life” by Reid, which also follows two lovers destined to be together. Overall, I’ve read books solely focused on Indian/Pakistan culture and I’ve read books that would be relatable for everyone. Never both. But this book? All my Rage would never choose one, it embraces both.

5/5 stars