31 Hours by Masha Hamilton- Mini Review

31 Hours by Masha Hamilton

As I read this book quite some time ago, I will be using my mini-review format, which means I will be using the publisher’s description instead of writing one of my own.

Publisher’s Description:

A woman in New York awakens knowing, as deeply as a mother s blood can know, that her grown son is in danger. She has not heard from him in weeks. His name is Jonas. His girlfriend, Vic, doesn t know what she has done wrong, but Jonas won t answer his cell phone. We soon learn that Jonas is isolated in a safe-house apartment in New York City, pondering his conversion to Islam and his experiences training in Pakistan, preparing for the violent action he has been instructed to take in 31 hours. Jonas s absence from the lives of those who love him causes a cascade of events, and as the novel moves through the streets and subways of New York we come to know intimately the lives of its characters. We also learn to feel deeply the connections and disconnections that occur between young people and their parents not only in this country but in the Middle East as well. Carried by Hamilton s highly-lauded prose, this story about the helplessness of those who cannot contact a beloved young man who is on a devastatingly confused path is compelling on the most human level.

I read this book for Julie’s appearance on That’s How I Blog. Hamilton tells an interesting story with interesting characters, and I was really intrigued with how she intertwined the lives of the different characters. Ultimately, though, I didn’t feel that there was enough justification presented for why Jonas behaved as he did, and that really kept me from loving the book.

Buy this book from:
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound.*

This review was done with a book received from the library
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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8 comments to 31 Hours by Masha Hamilton- Mini Review

  • I agree that I didn’t understand the reasoning behind Jonas’ actions, but I don’t know that that bothered me. I think the mystery behind is part of what made me intrigued.

  • Yes, I thought the reasoning was a little vague. I thin it was oaky for me because I felt like he was a a place in his life where everything was so undefined and tentative to him that it made sense to me that he was someone who could be easily swayed.

  • I remember the trailer for this book was pretty intense, and certainly piqued my curiosity. I even tried to convince my Book Club to read it, but they are over me and my buttinski ways. I’m really glad to pointed out what you didn’t love about it, because I think I would feel the same. This is why I like non-fiction…I need to know the WHY.

  • The reasoning may have been vague, but I think it showed how fragile and easily persuaded some people are. I enjoyed the book but didn’t love it.

  • oh yeah, I forgot to ever review this book. It was just alright for me…I was expecting something different, I think.

  • Jenn-

    I didn’t know you that well back when we discovered this book at The Bookstore, but you would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during all of our discussions! Sue, Jenny and I all loved this book beyond measure.

    It’s interesting that you and some of your commenters liked it but didn’t love it, whereas we were flat-out obsessed. Part of that may be due to the fact that we have children in their late teens and twenties, and it just scared the bejeezus out of us. Seriously, wait ’till Daniel is that age, and I know you will say, “there, but for the grace of God, . . .”

    There are so many dangers out there for our young adults no matter how hard we try to be good parents, and I have seen just how shakey and tentative that beginning of adulthood can be. Their peers have enormous influence, and they want to believe in something so badly. I can definitely see it.

    We had huge but fun debates about the outcome of the book. I continue to cling to the hope that disaster was averted and Jonas was somehow released from the belly of the whale. A mother’s hope.

    I don’t know if you ever caught my blog post and my interview with Masha Hamilton last fall, but here it is, just in case: http://justthebookstore.blogspot.com/2009/08/interview-with-masha-hamilton-author-of.html

    Cheers, Margie

  • I can understand that reaction. It made an immediate impact on me; we’ll see how long the feeling lasts.