Brown Boy: A Memoir

Scribner. Apr. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9781982136314. $28. MEMOIR
In his debut memoir, lawyer Aziz offers honest insight into what it’s like to be a child of Pakistani Muslim immigrants. The author grew up in suburban Toronto, where he often felt caught between two worlds: the expectations of a society that didn’t fully accept him, and his own attempts to determine who he is and who he wants to become. His experience provoked questions: Is assimilation really an option? Who gets to belong? During Aziz’s senior year of high school, books became his window into both the outside world and its many injustices. The sections of the memoir where these books are interwoven with his narrative are beautiful and moving. Aziz later attended elite schools, such as Cambridge University and Yale Law School, but still felt like an outsider. He landed a job as a foreign policy adviser in Canada’s government, working with Justin Trudeau and other politicians; he eventually resigned due to worsening microaggressions from some of his white colleagues. But Aziz did not give up on creating and embracing an identity that incorporates all facets of his upbringing and experiences.
VERDICT A memorable memoir with relatable themes of race, religion, identity, and family.
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