Eboo Patel relates his life’s story growing up Indian, Muslim, and American. As an adolescent, Patel rejects his heritage and religion in an effort to fit into larger society. Eventually, he comes full circle, not only accepting, but embracing his multiple identities.
I enjoyed this book on various levels. First, so much of the story centers on Glen Ellyn and the University of Illinois that I found it nostalgic and personal. Second, the style is informal, yet profound. And finally, Patel addresses a variety of “heavy” issues: from violence in the name of religion to our youth’s potential to contribute to a just world; from pluralism in societies to mentorship for future generations. He ties all of these topics into to a broader theme of cross-cultural understanding, helping us to feel optimistic about the world’s future.