Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review: 31 hours by Masha Hamilton

Unbridled Books 
Source: Personal Copy 
Pages: 229 

Thirty- One 

'The Maximum number of days in a month, the length between menstrual cycles. Al-Khabir, the All- Aware, the thirty-first name of Al-lah. Thirty- one verses in Genesis, chapter 1. The Thirty- first verse: God saw all that he made, and behold it was very good. It was evening and it was morning, the sixth day. Thirty-one hours which given the elasticity of time, could shrink to thirty-one seconds or expand to thirty-one years.' 

Does a mother stop worrying about her children? Jonas is in his twenties, and his mother knows that at some point her son will want to distance himself from her and find his way in the world. However, she has this feeling that something has happened to her son. She has no proof, no clues, only her intuition to go by. She wakes in the middle of the night and knows that she must figure out what is going on with Jonas. Jonas was always very sensitive and had the weight of the world on his shoulders but he always checked in with his mother. 

This story follows Jonas, an idealist who wants to make a difference in the world. He wants to force individuals to see the injustices in their lives. He wants to change the world and make his life worthwhile. Jonas grew up with no religion, his father is Jewish and his mother an Atheist but they decided to leave religion up to their son. Allow him to make his own decisions. Jonas eventually decides to follow the muslim faith. He befriends Masoud, a Muslim extremist. Jonas is not really sure how he got to this point in his life, it seemed rather quick but he now has 31 hours to cleanse and prepare for a very important task. Jonas has decided to become a suicide bomber and attack the New York Subway. Although scared, Jonas feels that he can carry out his mission and become a hero or simply back down and potentially get hit by a car in six months and die an unknown man. Masoud is curious if Jonas will be portrayed as a terrorist by the media or not. He has given him the nickname Abu Asfar 'The American' and out of the seven who will act, Jonas is the one he is worried about. 

Carol and Jake although divorced bond together to find their son. Jake doesn't believe that his son can be in much danger, he believes his son has run off with a girl and will appear within a few days. Carol, doesn't know how to convince Jake but she asks him to search Jonas apartment. Jake discovers a plane ticket to Palestine and proof that his son has not been enrolled in school for the last semester. Vic, Jonas girlfriend has also had no contact with him for the last few days. She also doesn't believe that Jonas went to Palestine when he mentioned he went on a Yoga retreat. It soon becomes apparent that Jonas has been living a separate life unknown to those he loved. Vic is also dealing with her parents recent divorce and the fact that her sister has runaway on the subway to find her father. 

As we countdown the 31 hours to see if Jonas will go through with this act, readers will be on their toes begging Jonas to realize his actions. Jonas is filled with hope and acceptance. We meet other New Yorkers and wonder if they will become a victim. Masha Hamilton does an incredible job opening the eyes of her readers. This novel will haunt you and keep your mind going once you've completed it. A real thriller, sure to please. I couldn't put it down, and felt frustrated when I had to go to work.

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  1. I really liked this one too! I could relate to parts of it because boys don't communicate when they go away to school and as a parent you just have to pray that they're making good decisions.

  2. This sounds like an episode of 24. I know how you feel when you so get frustrated at having to stop reading coz work comes into play.

    Been there and still living it now :)

    Coming back to work tomorrow... yes... I will see you tomorrow :)

  3. I am glad you enjoyed this one more than I did. I didn't like the ending - not so much about what happened, but how it was executed/delivered. Here's my review: http://mentalfoodie.blogspot.com/2010/01/book-review-31-hours-novel-by-masha.html

    Btw - did you just switch to blogger? So I shouldn't have problems leaving comments now! :)

  4. Oh! my mouth dropped when I read what he planned to do! I think this one must go on my to-buy list!