If ever a book could inspire while being sarcastically hilarious to convey a message, Nada Faris’ book, Mischief Diary, would top the list. Faris, a young Kuwaiti writer and performance poet, has utilized wit and a fluidity of language to assemble fifteen short stories based on real life experiences. She brings forth these stories with a mixture of sauce and sarcasm, piercing through a veil of conservatism to reveal the outlandish and the absurd in the every day. The collection is published by Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press, Qatar.
These stories depict fictionalized scenes from the author’s life, conveying to the readers in a straightforward, humorous and light hearted way important moments. Although each story is based at a different point of time in her life, Nada still manages to capture and get one hooked onto every story as though the previous one ended on a cliffhanger. Her writing captures the mischief which defines every other kid at her age. If she thought mischief, she did it (mostly) and has now penned it!
In her stories, Nada talks about how she wanted to stand out as a kid in school by being unique and innovative. She let her imagination run wild because her strong belief in Peter Pan consolidated her reason that if a Disney character can fly, a fouryear- old can surely fly over a slide. Her stories bring to light the simple childhood antics and tales such as trying to be heroic and consequently drowning in an adult pool when asked not to. Because why not? She talks about how a typical Arab family reacts to certain statements and how those statements, although harsh, don’t have any real basis as to why they are perceived in that manner.
Of the fifteen, my favorite stories are ‘My father’s revenge’ and ‘Kuwait’s National Women’s Football Team in Qatar’. In ‘My father’s revenge’ Nada’s father plays her trick right back at her unlike any other parent. Even though she is a young adult in her 20s, she mentions how we are still sometimes so dependent on our parent’s approval over trivial things such as buying a bookshelf.
On the other hand, ‘Kuwait’s National Women’s Football Team in Qatar’ shows us a clear picture as to why Kuwait cannot really push the limits when it comes to women’s sports. Red tape, unpreparedness and poorly equipped facilities are highlighted as some of the reasons for this short coming. She makes it clear that when it comes to women’s football, the grass is greener but not tended to, watered or cared for, unfortunately.
In conclusion, Mischief Diary has a penchant for probably turning someone who doesn’t read as much into an avid reader. Nada’s life has been eventful to say the least but her depiction of each of her life stories is a delight and gave me a refreshing outlook to which I could relate to as a woman. Besides being humorous, she was concise, straightforward and sometimes bluntly poured out her thoughts into her writing. She captivated my attention and I must say that Mischief Diary is one of the few books that really deserve acclaim for providing insight into the funny side of growing up in Kuwait.
By Ramona Crasto