Home > Senior Fiction, Young Adult > An Act of Love by Alan Gibbons

An Act of Love by Alan Gibbons

An Act of Love by Alan Gibbons. Pub. Orion Children’s Books, 2011.

This is an outstanding novel telling of the conflict between Islam and the West over Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan and the effect it is having on the streets and society of the UK.

Chris and Imran are boyhood friends and have been since they were seven years old. They grew up in a northern town, probably Bradford and were neighbours. Both families knew each other and mixed socially in spite of differing cultural and religious beliefs. Both fathers are “old school” and believe in the right and proper way to do things. But the world and society has hardened

9/11 changed everything and tensions between Islamic communities and British people smoldered.

After racial taunts and acts in Bradford the Islamic community went on the rampage. The leading culprits received harsh prison sentences, one of them was Imran’s brother Rafique. His actions split  family and friends and the two boys drift apart.

Imran becomes radicalised and groomed for holy jihad.

Chris joins the British army and is sent to fight in Afghanistan and we know from the start of the book that he loses a leg in a roadside bomb set by the Taleban.

The story is told in two time sequences. Firstly the present in which Chris is being decorated at a ceremony in an army base when he receives a message from his old friend Imran that a bomber is present. Secondly we have a countdown from New Years Eve 1999 up till the time of the bomb threat and all relevant conflicts between British and Muslim groups.

Alan Gibbons skillfully outlines the effects of the conflict on British society as both sides harden attitudes. He concentrates on the most fanatical of groups on both sides and shows the effects it has on neighbors,  families, friends and the law.

This is an outstanding work. Very readible with short sharp chapters. Gibbons stands aside  and puts it all in perspective in a gripping story. One of the best novels of the year for High School students and young adults.

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