Behind Picket Fences is the second novel of Hend Hegazi, an Egyptian-American Muslim writer who lives in Alexandria, Egypt with her husband and four children. Her second novel just like the first one is nothing short than a masterpiece masha’Allah. It follows the lives of four suburban American families; one of which is Muslim. Compared to her first one, Normal Calm, Behind Picket Fences is more of a mainstream novel.
So we have Sidra and Farris, Mariam and Morgan, Summer and Porter and May and Hasan.
Sidra and Farris are successful. She’s a case worker and her knight in shining armor is a lawyer. She just yearns for one thing that money can’t buy.
Mariam is a stay home mother and this is about to change when Morgan starts having financial troubles to support her and their four beautiful children.
Summer is a vibrant young woman who is the prized possession of Porter; a semi-uptight successful Business man.
Finally, May is a mother of two who is dreaming to go back to her guaranteed editing job while she is trying to get over a little malaise so she thought.
The book stirred many emotions in me. When I first read it, I was pregnant so I attributed my feelings to my hormonal stage and brushed it aside. But it was to my surprise that when I read it again for a review, I was an even bigger emotional mess. I really enjoyed the story as it makes us realize that we should count our blessings and stop wishing for what other have behind their picket fences. Every blessed family in our eyes is facing a struggle we have no idea of because Allah never gives everything to His creations.
Hegazi captured very well the weaknesses of human nature in her second novel and hats off to her for crafting and writing so beautifully masha’Allah. I wish her all the success she deserves with this book. Amiin.
Looking forward for her third novel. I know! I don’t even know if she has started penning one but I’ll be in line to read it if I live to see insha’Allah.
The book ends realistically and I’m curious to know what’s next for at least two members of these two families; Hasan + May and Morgan + Mariam. Will their paths meet somehow in the future? I wonder!
Jazak’Allah khair for reading,
Originally posted at HAYATI MAGAZINE.