First published 2005 in Pan by Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Ltd
St Martins Tower, 31 Market Street, Sydney
Copyright © Randa Abdel-Fattah 2005
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopying, recording or by any information storage
and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the
ISBN 0 330 42185 9
The characters and events in this book are ﬁctitious and
any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely
It hit me when I was power-walking on the treadmill at home,
watching ‘Friends’ rerun for only about the ninetieth time.
It’s that scene when Jennifer Aniston is dressed in a hideous
bridesmaid’s dress at her ex’s wedding. Everyone’s making fun of
her and she just wants to run away and hide, but then she suddenly
gets the guts to jump on stage and sing some song called ‘Copa
Cabana’, whatever that means. I’m telling you, this rush of absolute
power and conviction surged through me. I pressed the emergency
stop button on the treadmill and stood in my Adidas shorts and
Winnie the Pooh T-shirt, utterly captivated by the scene. It was like
stepping out of one room, closing the door behind me, and stepping
into another. One minute it was the last thing on my mind. The next
minute this courage ﬂowed through me and it just felt unbelievably
I was ready to wear the hijab.
That’s right, Rachel from ‘Friends’ inspired me. The sheikhs
will be holding emergency conferences.
That was at four-thirty yesterday afternoon. It’s now threetwenty in the morning and I’m lying in bed trying to ﬁgure out if
I’m really ready to go ahead with my decision as I watch a guy on
television try to persuade me that for forty-nine dollars and ninetynine cents I can buy a can opener that will also slice a watermelon...