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A Submission of My Own

While reading The Submission, I was struck with a memory of an essay contest my senior year of high school. It was during the Ground Zero mosque debacle, and we were to write an essay on our opinions of a hypothetical mosque being built near the Pentagon. I was very confused about my own feelings toward the real Muslim community center (not mosque) being built near the remains of the World Trade Center. On the one hand, I was still hurt by 9/11 and thought it was insensitive and cruel – it was twisting the knife even further into the wound, so to speak. On the other hand, I’m a big proponent of religious freedom, so I couldn’t in good conscience say that this community center didn’t belong there. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but knowing me, I probably tried to skate by and said something like, “This is a sensitive issue that requires careful consideration of all parties and their feelings.”

That’s why The Submission resonated so well with me. I don’t like issues that are black and white. For a story to be told truthfully, the audience needs to hear all sides – which is exactly what The Submission had. It wasn’t just told from the view of a protagonist that everyone would love, or feel like they needed to love. It was told from six different perspectives. Here were six people to love or hate, and most importantly, six people whom readers had the chance to identify with.

I did some thinking about the character I related to the most, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s Claire. Although I didn’t lose anyone, let alone my husband, in the 9/11 attacks, there’s a lot more to her than just that. I understand her self-doubt, her silent anger, and most importantly, her discomfort with a situation that she knew had spiraled out of her own control. (I don’t think the poor woman ever had any idea of what she was getting herself into.)

I know a lot of people don’t like books with multiple perspectives. It can get confusing and muddled ,and frankly, most people don’t have the time to keep up with one point of view in a book, let alone two or more. But after reading The Submission, I truly think that more books should follow this format. It gives everyone a chance to discover the best part of books – understanding exactly what the characters within it are going through.

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