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Reviewed by Louise Hurrell for Readers' Favorite
Finding Home is Duaah Hammad's first poetry collection, published when she was 18. The collection focuses on Hammad's experience of growing up in America and visiting her homeland of Pakistan, never feeling truly accepted in both countries. She is seen as an outsider, too liberal in one country but too old-fashioned in the other. Her thoughts and feelings surrounding her predicament are also explored in her poetry. The poems are written in free verse, with no rhythm or fixed form. This style of poetry may not be for everyone, but I enjoyed it. It helped highlight Hammad's feelings; she is very open and honest about how her experiences have affected her. The emotional intensity is laid bare. This is also apparent in Hammad's word choice, which is very straightforward and to the point. Whilst reading Finding Home, you are never unsure of Hammad's position, with the main point of each poem hammered home by the free form and simple, clear language. Finding Home is perhaps not the most accomplished in literary style, but it more than makes up for that in sheer, raw emotion.
During Finding Home, Duaah Hammad tackles many complex subjects, particularly immigration and sexism. She expertly articulates her frustrations and experiences in dealing with prejudice, and never shies away from these difficult subjects. It was refreshing to hear her stories and sadly it is easy to imagine a lot of women relating to these poems. Yet these are important discussions to be had, and Finding Home is a great place to start, as the collection is told in the first-person narrative with an author who is recalling her experiences. An interesting read and an excellent debut collection.