Everyone loves local author and poet Nada Faris’s masterful use of words. If anything, we expect deep discussions and soulful moments, with a sprinkling of her sharp wit. When Nada speaks, it’s hard not to listen, as her stage presence is always captivating.
When it came to reading her latest collection of short, funny tales inspired by real life events, Mischief Diary, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. The cover was cute, and the title simplistic—could it be tailored for that Young Adult demographic that I sorely, and obviously, had already outgrown?
Mischief Diary is entirely refreshing from beginning to end, and I found myself going back to reread various tales from the collection of fifteen short stories based on ‘real’ events. While Mischief Diary is dubbed as a Young Adult book, I found its humor powerful, even with those intense moments that, at first, you think make you uncomfortable, suitable for a wider audience, both younger and older.
The earlier tales are perfectly suited for a younger demographic, while the later stories, towards the end of the book, inspire thought and provocation about how we choose to live out our best lives, no matter where we are and what obstacles we might face.
It’s good to be discomfited by life—it keeps you on your toes, it stretches your mind and challenges your way of thinking. I felt the author channeling this thought as she portrayed various fictionalized vignettes from different points in her life. I personally feel that fictionalizing reality can be therapeutic at times. Think of it as a processing mechanism, where considering a somewhat trying time in your life from a humorous, cartoon-like perspective can allow you to actually cope with the situation.
I felt this most when reading Pieces of my Broken Heart. The author describes the loss of her childhood best friend when she had to move schools, and also in the very last tale of the book Science Says I’m Special.
And there is a magic to Nada’s mischief as a younger child. Not heeding what she considered at the time as pointless rules, a need to never conform with the rest of her classmates by choosing to wear her father’s slippers to school, and never snitching on her crew.
This very magic forms the basis of what I can describe best as an adventure-filled childhood. If Nada wasn’t telling us riveting tales of how she jumped out of an abandoned locker room bathroom window to ‘save’ her friends in We’re All Going to Die, or how she never gave up on a dream to be like Peter Pan in That Time I Drowned (even if she knew she couldn’t), to actually narrating stories to herself in the absence of her best friend at school in Little Miss Chatterbox to stave off feelings of loneliness. Dear readers—there is never a dull moment in Mischief Diary.
By tale number 9, I’ve already grown up with Nada, and from there, I’m driven to deeply ponder the relationships that we form later in life, along with how our own upbringing impacts our adult lives. Kuwait is still considered as a somewhat conservative country—albeit the Kuwait of today is markedly different from the Kuwait Nada presents in her earlier tales.
There are some traditional norms that society have shed organically, so we simply stop talking about them. Maybe we don’t want to traumatize today’s budding generation, but perhaps we still need to retell the stories of yesterday, to better understand where we are headed today and more importantly, tomorrow.
With Mischief Diary, Nada aptly tackles these matters with her sharp wit and wild imagination, both as a snarky child, and an even snarkier adult. I can’t recommend this book enough, so get your hands on a copy today!
For more on Mischief Diary, please visit Nada Faris’s website www.nadafaris.com. For Nada’s latest updates, follow her on Instagram and Twitter @NadaFaris. The book is available in paperback format in Kuwait, please contact 9777 6820 for more information and home delivery, and find it at That Al Salasil (The Avenues) and The Writers Hub Kuwait. Find the e-book on Kindle UK, Ca and AUS. Mischief Diary is published by the Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press in Doha, Qatar.