“Love, Hate, and Other Filters” allows glimpse into another culture


By Hannah Zalewski, Page Editor

In her debut novel  “Love, Hate and Other Filters,” Samira Ahmed illustrates the harsh reality of being a muslim in a terrorist-fearing America.

The story opens with Maya Aziz, an ambitious teen filmmaker who dreams of going to NYU and running away from her Indian parents and their ideals for her future arranged marriage. Following a suicide bombing in Illinois, Maya comes face to face with a new wave of islamophobia. Not only does she get backlash for being muslim, but for sharing a last name with the suspected perpetrator. Along with boy drama and helicopter parents, Maya will have to learn to deal with all that is thrown her way.

As the title suggests, Maya encounters extremes of both kindness and hatred during the story. Her insight on the hatred she receives reveals a diverse perspective on a very prevalent issue in America today. After the terror attack, Maya prays that the bomber was not muslim, because she knew she would become a target.  Although seemingly ridiculous, her initial reaction depicts the private struggle Muslims face when their religion becomes associated with terror attacks.

Throughout the story, Maya, along with many of the side characters encounter new things and gain knowledge through fresh experiences. However, most of the characters stay relatively the same in terms of what they believe in through the entire story.  This lack of development made it quite difficult to relate to any of the characters.

Although awfully difficult to get into, this read was relatively easy to follow. At times it did become cliche and unsurprising. Maya’s voice makes up for this. Her vibrant personality shines through the pages. She keeps one intrigued during moments that the plot line lacks interest.

Due to her heritage, Maya and her family often use Indian vocabulary in their daily conversations.  From names of traditional Indian clothing to Bollywood movie titles, an average american may not be able to decipher what these words mean.  Although it was interesting to be exposed to this aspect of Indian culture, it was very difficult to follow. So much so that readers may consider not finishing the story.

Despite its flaws, “Love, Hate and Other Filters,” is still an entertaining read. Anyone who wants to experience life in another culture should pick up this book.