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Sarfraz Manzoor was two years old when, in 1974, he emigrated from Pakistan to Britain with his mother, brother, and sister. Sarfraz spent his teenage years in a constant battle, trying to reconcile being both British and Muslim, trying to fit in at school and at home. But it was when his best friend introduced him to the music of Bruce Springsteen that his life changed co Sarfraz Manzoor was two years old when, in 1974, he emigrated from Pakistan to Britain with his mother, brother, and sister. Sarfraz spent his teenage years in a constant battle, trying to reconcile being both British and Muslim, trying to fit in at school and at home. But it was when his best friend introduced him to the music of Bruce Springsteen that his life changed completely. From the age of sixteen on, after the moment he heard the harmonica and opening lines to "The River," Springsteen became his personal muse, a lens through which he was able to view the rest of his life. Both a tribute to Springsteen and a story of personal discovery, "Greetings from Bury Park" is a warm, irreverent, and exceptionally perceptive memoir about how music transcends religion and race.


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Sarfraz Manzoor was two years old when, in 1974, he emigrated from Pakistan to Britain with his mother, brother, and sister. Sarfraz spent his teenage years in a constant battle, trying to reconcile being both British and Muslim, trying to fit in at school and at home. But it was when his best friend introduced him to the music of Bruce Springsteen that his life changed co Sarfraz Manzoor was two years old when, in 1974, he emigrated from Pakistan to Britain with his mother, brother, and sister. Sarfraz spent his teenage years in a constant battle, trying to reconcile being both British and Muslim, trying to fit in at school and at home. But it was when his best friend introduced him to the music of Bruce Springsteen that his life changed completely. From the age of sixteen on, after the moment he heard the harmonica and opening lines to "The River," Springsteen became his personal muse, a lens through which he was able to view the rest of his life. Both a tribute to Springsteen and a story of personal discovery, "Greetings from Bury Park" is a warm, irreverent, and exceptionally perceptive memoir about how music transcends religion and race.

30 review for Greetings from Bury Park: Race, Religion and Rock 'n' Roll

  1. 5 out of 5

    Terri Somers

    I'm so glad I found this book! Browsing around Borders' new arrivals table one day, I happened upon Greetings From Bury Park. It had obviously been misplaced. But how could I NOT pick it up - here I am native of the Jersey Shore living in San Diego and there, sitting before me, is this book with a drawing of a famous Jersey Shore landmark and a title that aludes to a town, an album and an artist that I know so well. When I saw it was written by a Pakistani journalist who found meaning in Springs I'm so glad I found this book! Browsing around Borders' new arrivals table one day, I happened upon Greetings From Bury Park. It had obviously been misplaced. But how could I NOT pick it up - here I am native of the Jersey Shore living in San Diego and there, sitting before me, is this book with a drawing of a famous Jersey Shore landmark and a title that aludes to a town, an album and an artist that I know so well. When I saw it was written by a Pakistani journalist who found meaning in Springsteen, how could I NOT buy it. I'm a journalist and I, too, find great meaning in Springsteen's lyrics. Lucky for me Manzoor is a good writer. And his personal tale of being an immigrant torn between two cultures is told in such a way that it even resonates with this white chick who lived in the same state for more than half her life. Manzoor writes extensively of his strained relationship with his father. And it is not until after his father's death that Manzoor begin to really understand and appreciate his father. This son's revelations and emotions about his relationship with his deceased father resonated with this female reader as well. And then there's the Springsteen anecdotes - priceless!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Asif

    I've never read a book which I can relate to so much (sans Springsteen!) -- it's almost like Sarfraz is writing about my own life! That's probably not suprising since I am also a second gen British Pakistani Muslim roughly the same age as him! Loving it so far...70% read... I've never read a book which I can relate to so much (sans Springsteen!) -- it's almost like Sarfraz is writing about my own life! That's probably not suprising since I am also a second gen British Pakistani Muslim roughly the same age as him! Loving it so far...70% read...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    After watching both "Blinded by the Light" and interviewing author Sarfraz himself, I decided that it was only right of me to read the source material itself. "Greetings from Bury Park" was a moving, fascinating read; one that really allowed for me to know this man even more so than from watching the film. It was interesting on how the memoir was structured. While I don't read memoirs that often, the ones that I have read do have a tendency to go, naturally, in chronological order. What Sarfraz d After watching both "Blinded by the Light" and interviewing author Sarfraz himself, I decided that it was only right of me to read the source material itself. "Greetings from Bury Park" was a moving, fascinating read; one that really allowed for me to know this man even more so than from watching the film. It was interesting on how the memoir was structured. While I don't read memoirs that often, the ones that I have read do have a tendency to go, naturally, in chronological order. What Sarfraz did was pretty smart, as he instead devoted each chapter to a different subject of his life; such as his relationship with his father, his relationship with his Muslim identity, his love life, and of course, Bruce Springsteen. I do wish that there was a chapter devoted to just his writing and his work as a journalist. Him wanting to be a writer played a big role in the film, and so I would have liked to learn more about the poetry and other writings he had done when he was growing up. I know I keep referring back to the film, but just so we're clear: "Blinded by the Light" was inspired by this memoir, not based on it. The elements from the memoir that made their way onto the big screen were, I believe, chosen to give grounding to where the story originated from. With Sarfraz also serving as one of the co-writers for the film, I see the fictional elements in it as, perhaps, his way of making amends with his past - particularly with his father - and finding hope from that. When reading "Greetings from Bury Park," it all becomes clear. I don't mind having read the book after seeing the film. I think it gives underlying context to parts of the film that maybe you wouldn't have thought came from the memoir. Regardless of whether you read "Greetings from Bury Park" before or after, I encourage you to read it anyway. There are a lot of layers to this British Pakistani journalist with a passion for The Boss.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    What a lovely uplifting book. A young Pakistani boy brought to the UK along with the rest of his family as a very young boy to join his father who had been in the UK for 11 years. It's a story of the clash of cultures of a young Muslim boy trying to fit in without betraying his families honour. Of his Sister's dashed hopes of going to higher education because of their fathers traditional (backward?) thinking on how Muslim women should be treated. Of the authors distancing from his family and the What a lovely uplifting book. A young Pakistani boy brought to the UK along with the rest of his family as a very young boy to join his father who had been in the UK for 11 years. It's a story of the clash of cultures of a young Muslim boy trying to fit in without betraying his families honour. Of his Sister's dashed hopes of going to higher education because of their fathers traditional (backward?) thinking on how Muslim women should be treated. Of the authors distancing from his family and the freedom that a love of western music brought him. Of growing up different but trying to fit in without losing his roots. And of finally realising that for all the unfairness of his fathers treatment as he tried to keep his family together as good Muslims. He did it to help his family have better opportunities than he had. And finally of the realisation that just because he was a Muslim, he was also British and thankful for the opportunities the country had given him and his family, at the same time sad that so many of his fellow British Pakistani's hated the country and wanted to bring it down because of some misguided beliefs. A very well written and enjoyable book. A book of hope that one day we can all live together and accept others beliefs and cultures without the need for name calling and hatred.

  5. 4 out of 5

    John

    I recently saw the film Blinded by the Light and loved it. It inspired me to get the book and I am so glad I took the time to read it. Like the author I have been a diehard Springsteen fan and Bruce's music has influenced and reinforced my values over the close to 40 years I have been listening to him. What struck me the most reading the book was the similarities in my experience as a Bruce fan to the author's own experience. Another great reminder of the fact that while people may be very diffe I recently saw the film Blinded by the Light and loved it. It inspired me to get the book and I am so glad I took the time to read it. Like the author I have been a diehard Springsteen fan and Bruce's music has influenced and reinforced my values over the close to 40 years I have been listening to him. What struck me the most reading the book was the similarities in my experience as a Bruce fan to the author's own experience. Another great reminder of the fact that while people may be very different in terms of background that we are all really the same in terms of our hopes and aspirations. An important reminder in today's world. Highly recommend the book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Samra Muslim

    Enjoyed it - because it shows the inner workings on the mind of the young Pakistani Muslim and additionally the reader realizes that no matter what our caste, creed or color is - inside we are the same (with similiar values and tastes!!). Very relatable to read was the writer's background story of the dad and the family dynamics which again very similiar for us Pakistani's who all have atleast on close family member (aunt/uncle/cousin/sibling/etc) with a similar story ... ! Enjoyed it - because it shows the inner workings on the mind of the young Pakistani Muslim and additionally the reader realizes that no matter what our caste, creed or color is - inside we are the same (with similiar values and tastes!!). Very relatable to read was the writer's background story of the dad and the family dynamics which again very similiar for us Pakistani's who all have atleast on close family member (aunt/uncle/cousin/sibling/etc) with a similar story ... !

  7. 4 out of 5

    Meagan Butler

    Greetings from Bury Park is an entertaining, fast read. It was eye opening to read through his journey to a feeling of belongingness and identity. Sadly, my only critic is the Springsteen theme. I’m a huge Springsteen fan and read this book specifically for that reason. However, after reading it, I appreciate the author’s love for Springsteen but found the theme a bit forced. I would still recommend it to someone looking for a good read. It’s a great story that needs to be heard.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

    Greetings from Bury Park is a searingly intimate account of growing up as the child of Pakistani immigrants in Britain. In amongst his frank description of the turmoil, pain and confusion surrounding his feelings of disconnection and ambivalence to both cultures, Manzoor manages to inject bursts of laugh-out-loud humour. The book is also a chronicle of the influence of song, in this case the words of Bruce Springsteen, on a young mind. In this — and, surprisingly and reassuringly, many other way Greetings from Bury Park is a searingly intimate account of growing up as the child of Pakistani immigrants in Britain. In amongst his frank description of the turmoil, pain and confusion surrounding his feelings of disconnection and ambivalence to both cultures, Manzoor manages to inject bursts of laugh-out-loud humour. The book is also a chronicle of the influence of song, in this case the words of Bruce Springsteen, on a young mind. In this — and, surprisingly and reassuringly, many other ways — his story has similarities to any coming-of-age story anywhere. But it is his witty and insightful examination of the way two cultures — his family's Pakistani Muslim and his adoptive country's British — have formed him that is utterly fascinating, particularly to anyone interested in the process of integration. His eventual resolution is heartwarming, and refreshingly optimistic.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Thomas DeWolf

    I learned of the existence of this book after reading that Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham) made a film ( Blinded by the Light ) based on this memoir of a Pakistani Muslim boy growing up in England, whose life shifts dramatically for the better when he is introduced to the music of Bruce Springsteen. As someone whose life has been significantly impacted by the music of the Boss, I couldn't wait for the film about this guy who is a bigger fan than me. But it won't come out for awhile (it I learned of the existence of this book after reading that Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham) made a film ( Blinded by the Light ) based on this memoir of a Pakistani Muslim boy growing up in England, whose life shifts dramatically for the better when he is introduced to the music of Bruce Springsteen. As someone whose life has been significantly impacted by the music of the Boss, I couldn't wait for the film about this guy who is a bigger fan than me. But it won't come out for awhile (it just premiered at Sundance and subsequently sold to a distributor). So I checked the book out from the library. Similar to Bend It Like Beckham, here's a story about someone from a culture very different from my own. Breaking down barriers among cultures in our world requires us to learn more about each other. This memoir introduces readers to Sarfraz Manzoor, his family and friends. The book was not what I expected. It's not just a Bruce fan-boy story, but the story of a challenging childhood, racism, religious intolerance, family dysfunction, and how to fit in when you simply don't fit in. It's really quite a fascinating memoir. I'm certain the film will be significantly different. The book (and, I'm certain, the film) is ultimately about joy and hope... the land of hope and dreams we all seek. So I'm glad I read the book first. I believe others will be as well.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Diane Wilkes

    I'm not sure I'd have given this five stars if I weren't also a Bruce freak, but I would still esteem it highly. Manzoor captures what it is to be in that place from adolescent to adult, all confusion, passion, insecurity and the glimmerings of independence, interdependence and the maturity to recognize which is which. But his story is also that of an immigrant in a strange land, and what that's like in both the giving and receiving aspect. His narrative voice is honest and vulnerable. Each chapt I'm not sure I'd have given this five stars if I weren't also a Bruce freak, but I would still esteem it highly. Manzoor captures what it is to be in that place from adolescent to adult, all confusion, passion, insecurity and the glimmerings of independence, interdependence and the maturity to recognize which is which. But his story is also that of an immigrant in a strange land, and what that's like in both the giving and receiving aspect. His narrative voice is honest and vulnerable. Each chapter shares a title with a Springsteen song, and Manzoor's immersion in all things Springsteen is threaded deeply into both the plot, but also the tapestry of his telling. Since Springsteen's lyrics also opened me to new ways of seeing and experiencing the world, almost everything the author shares is something I've also felt on a very deep level. Reading the book was like one big "YES" for me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Todd Stockslager

    Review title: Love songs to my father When the movie Blinded By the Light came out in 2019, it was a sure sell for me: in the late 1980s a geeky British boy with Pakistani Muslim parents is introduced to Bruce Springsteen by a classmate with Pakistani Sikh parents. Their deep friendship bonds around the lyrics and music of Springsteen, perceived by their peers as a middle-aged washed-up American rock star with nothing to say to the world they lived in. As a huge Springsteen fan who courted my fut Review title: Love songs to my father When the movie Blinded By the Light came out in 2019, it was a sure sell for me: in the late 1980s a geeky British boy with Pakistani Muslim parents is introduced to Bruce Springsteen by a classmate with Pakistani Sikh parents. Their deep friendship bonds around the lyrics and music of Springsteen, perceived by their peers as a middle-aged washed-up American rock star with nothing to say to the world they lived in. As a huge Springsteen fan who courted my future wife with Springsteen lyrics and who still 40 years later plays Springsteen's music with my son, I watched the movie and loved it. The movie was "inspired by" this memoir written by that geeky boy, the title a play on words based on the small town north of London where Sarfraz Manzoor grew up and Springsteen's New Jersey home town and early album title. So having seen the fictional version I had to read the true story, and it has the same emotional impact as the movie based on both the power of the music and the love song Manzoor has written to his father. In the book, as in the movie, as in Springsteen's love song "Independence Day" to his troubled relationship with his father, the relationship between father and son was dominated by anger, misunderstanding, miscommunication, unfulfilled expectations and unexpressed expectations. But the song only gains lyrics later as the son grows to realize that the disappointments and disconnections flowed in both directions and the song becomes a love song to that father. While Springsteen wrote his song and belatedly rebuilt his relationship with his father before he died, Manzoor wrote his too late. Even though I never had a troubled relationship with my father, Manzoor's poignant statement that "Sons never get over losing their fathers" (p. 53) resonates with me strongly because it has been just over a year since my father died. He goes on to express that aching loss of opportunity: When I had the chance to ask my father questions, I chose not to. But by not being able to direct those questions to him I was forced to confront them on my own. As my own adult life has progressed, my admiration for my father has grown. I wish I had asked more questions when he was alive. I wish I had tried to humanise him when I had the chance. I wish in vain; it was only when he died that the desire for answers arose. How many questions have I wished I could ask my father in the last year! If you still have the opportunity, take it. In chapters titled with Springsteen song titles Manzoor writes about his experiences growing up at once British, Pakistani, and Muslim, and at the same time not fitting into any of those catefories; indeed, the memoir is basically the story of how he is able to reconcile himself to each of those pieces of his history and reassemble them into a whole and healthy personality. While the movie compresses the timescale of events that in real life extended over a decade to fit into a filmable sequence, the screenplay written by Manzoor captures the important central themes and feelings of the memoir. The absence of any photographs of the real life Sarfraz in the book plus the cover photo from this movie tie-in edition of the actor who played him makes it impossible not to conflate the two. Manzoor's personal struggles were magnified by the racism he encountered growing up: "It wasn't much fun being Pakistani during the eighties. There were no sexy Pakistanis I could fancy, no creative Pakistanis I could admire, no successful Pakistanis I could respect." (p. 245). In spite of this, Manzoor did become a successful journalist and documentary filmmaker, as the book and movie attest, and he endured the intensified racism after 9/11, the later 7/7 Underground attack, and the Trump anti-Muslim immigration policies to become properly British, proudly Pakistani and culturally (if not fundamentalist) Muslim. And he is a good writer, telling his story with humor, anger, and candor, hitting the right emotional tone without trivializing or exaggerating his situation. He writes with simple sincerity, polished vocabulary, and expressive emotion. This memoir reads quickly. And yes, Springsteen is front and center as Manzoor explains what his lyrics mean to him and why they make such a difference in his life. The Springsteen connection made the sale for me, but the account of his family's and his father's love made the story.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    An interesting concept of how the music of Bruce Springsten influenced a young Parkistani Muslim. It was a constant struggle for him to identify with his Muslim parents and upbringing, or his British education and lifestyle.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Wakizashi

    A fascinating memoir which was hard to put down. Enjoyed every word and am keeping it to read again. It has tempted me to listen to some Springsteen albums. Recommended!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    This book is so enjoyable. I read it because I loved the movie" Blinded by the Light." Why has this book not been released in Canada? When I ordered it from Amazon I had to wait to obtain the UK edition. Highly recommend! This book is so enjoyable. I read it because I loved the movie" Blinded by the Light." Why has this book not been released in Canada? When I ordered it from Amazon I had to wait to obtain the UK edition. Highly recommend!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sassafras

    I discovered this book in anticipation of the film by Gurinder Chadha, “Blinded by the Light.” Manzoor’s memoir is a tribute to Bruce Springsteen’s music and its ability to reach across political and geographic divides to touch the heart. I confess to listening to a number of Springsteen songs as I read the text. Each chapter is prefaced by a quote from Springsteen’ lyrics. I just realized what an excellent playlist that would make! As I read the memoir, I pictured many of my students from many d I discovered this book in anticipation of the film by Gurinder Chadha, “Blinded by the Light.” Manzoor’s memoir is a tribute to Bruce Springsteen’s music and its ability to reach across political and geographic divides to touch the heart. I confess to listening to a number of Springsteen songs as I read the text. Each chapter is prefaced by a quote from Springsteen’ lyrics. I just realized what an excellent playlist that would make! As I read the memoir, I pictured many of my students from many different lands and cultures. The front quote on my copy of the text declares this a story of the immigrant experience. I also see it as the tale of the shaping of identity. Powerful stuff. I can’t wait to see how the film interprets the journey.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christie Barlow

    LOVED LOVED LOVED IT!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rania T

    "As unlikely as the thought that being Asian might be considered cool, that white people might pay to watch a film about a Pakistani family growing up in the seventies or read a book about a Bangladeshi woman or laugh at a comedy sketch where the joke was on them and not the Asians performing the skit." This autobiography, which in the not so distant future will be known by its film name, "Blinded by the Light" is about finding your identity as a minority in a 'white' dominated country. Although "As unlikely as the thought that being Asian might be considered cool, that white people might pay to watch a film about a Pakistani family growing up in the seventies or read a book about a Bangladeshi woman or laugh at a comedy sketch where the joke was on them and not the Asians performing the skit." This autobiography, which in the not so distant future will be known by its film name, "Blinded by the Light" is about finding your identity as a minority in a 'white' dominated country. Although Manzoor's story is one that focuses on his British Pakistani identity growing up in Luton in the 1970's and 1980's, it nonetheless is relatable to all those who have found themselves to have grown up "in-between" before the Internet Era. The longing that was expressed through music (in Manzoor's case, Bruce Springsteen) the desire to see other places and escape the stifling confines of Suburbia, traditions that "Whites" cannot understand, and every bit of exotic information was something to hoard and then share with friends. Do read, but yes, immigrant communities have evolved, and only because of the sacrifices made by our hardworking parents, which this book is also a song line for...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kressel Housman

    Anyone who writes a memoir that gets made into a movie is living my dream, so naturally I have to read it. It’s a coming of age story told by Safraz Manzoor, who was born in Pakistan but raised in England. It’s all about navigating the tension between the older generation’s traditional values and the messages of freedom and self-determination he gets from his favorite rock ‘n roller, Bruce Springsteen. Safraz and his best friend Amolak, who is Sikh, are Springsteen fanatics who save up and go se Anyone who writes a memoir that gets made into a movie is living my dream, so naturally I have to read it. It’s a coming of age story told by Safraz Manzoor, who was born in Pakistan but raised in England. It’s all about navigating the tension between the older generation’s traditional values and the messages of freedom and self-determination he gets from his favorite rock ‘n roller, Bruce Springsteen. Safraz and his best friend Amolak, who is Sikh, are Springsteen fanatics who save up and go see every concert they possibly can, even making a “pilgrimage” to Asbury Park in New Jersey. Though the movie trailer plays up the Springsteen angle, the book is about much more than that. It’s mostly about Safraz’s relationship with his parents, and it covers such diverse issues as arranged marriages, financial survival in an immigrant family, and facing people’s prejudices after 9/11. Despite his tensions with his parents, the book ends up being not just a loving tribute to them, but to England itself. Safraz is middle-aged now, and what happens to him happens to all of us. When we lose the fervor of youth, we make peace with our parents’ decisions. We don’t have to agree with all of them, but when it comes down to it, life is always a balance between self and others, personal freedom and larger obligations. So, as in any good memoir, one person’s particular experience tells us something universal to humanity.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carla Simmons

    This is one of the rare times I read the book after I saw the movie. This book is the basis for the film Blinded by the Light. I loved the movie, liked the book. The book is much more serious than the movie. I learned a lot about Manzoor's life growing up as a Pakistani in Great Britain. The movie focuses on a young man's love of Bruce Springsteen's music. While this is certainly present and explained in the book, Manzoor really concentrates his memoir on his family and his upbringing. Definitel This is one of the rare times I read the book after I saw the movie. This book is the basis for the film Blinded by the Light. I loved the movie, liked the book. The book is much more serious than the movie. I learned a lot about Manzoor's life growing up as a Pakistani in Great Britain. The movie focuses on a young man's love of Bruce Springsteen's music. While this is certainly present and explained in the book, Manzoor really concentrates his memoir on his family and his upbringing. Definitely worth the read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    matteo

    I have restarted wandering through the biography section of the library, and this is the first result. An autobiography about a Pakistan-born, England-bred, Bruce Springsteen-loving child of the 1970s. It was an interesting look at a perspective that, for the most part, I only see in movies--which does not really count in the same way. Being able to be inside the mind of a real person changes everything, especially when he refers to songs you have heard and events you only know about from histor I have restarted wandering through the biography section of the library, and this is the first result. An autobiography about a Pakistan-born, England-bred, Bruce Springsteen-loving child of the 1970s. It was an interesting look at a perspective that, for the most part, I only see in movies--which does not really count in the same way. Being able to be inside the mind of a real person changes everything, especially when he refers to songs you have heard and events you only know about from history. The writing is smooth, fast, and occasionally hilarious. The family themes resound beyond the culture--his parents and family reminded me a lot of my family. A good, quick read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tina Balboni

    Having just seen the movie Blinded by the Light, I wanted to read the book that inspired it all. For all the heart and pure, unadulterated joy of the movie, the book is so much more. More than just the joy of discovering the music of Bruce Springsteen, but the challenges of growing up Muslim Pakistani in Britain - torn between two cultures. Reconciling his American Dream with the aftermath of 9/11. And coming to terms with his own identity. And the connective thread, throughout his life, the wor Having just seen the movie Blinded by the Light, I wanted to read the book that inspired it all. For all the heart and pure, unadulterated joy of the movie, the book is so much more. More than just the joy of discovering the music of Bruce Springsteen, but the challenges of growing up Muslim Pakistani in Britain - torn between two cultures. Reconciling his American Dream with the aftermath of 9/11. And coming to terms with his own identity. And the connective thread, throughout his life, the words and music of Bruce Springsteen to help guide him through all of it. A really special book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sylvan

    About more than Springsteen, just like Bruce's songs I don't typically read memoirs, so probably would not have picked this if not for the movie. Blinded by the Light covers just a small fraction of the vignettes in this heartfelt, beautiful loveletter to family, friendship and fandom. So, as in most cases, this book is 100 times better than the good movie it inspired. Manzoor's writing is journalistic and poetic at the same time. I devoured chapters at a time when I could, but also found it sati About more than Springsteen, just like Bruce's songs I don't typically read memoirs, so probably would not have picked this if not for the movie. Blinded by the Light covers just a small fraction of the vignettes in this heartfelt, beautiful loveletter to family, friendship and fandom. So, as in most cases, this book is 100 times better than the good movie it inspired. Manzoor's writing is journalistic and poetic at the same time. I devoured chapters at a time when I could, but also found it satisfying to read a page and savor it, thinking about the feelings he shared when I had to put the book down. Highly recommend.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Johari

    I thought it was uneven. The sequence of events did not make sense and for a writer, I expected better. I didn't think the book was that well thought out of brought anything new to an acculturation/accommodation lifestyle. I am interested in the experience of immigrants in England but I didn't really learn anything new and wasn't fascinated by anything the author wrote. I think he could of done so much more and written it better. It seemed more like a draft than a final copy. I thought it was uneven. The sequence of events did not make sense and for a writer, I expected better. I didn't think the book was that well thought out of brought anything new to an acculturation/accommodation lifestyle. I am interested in the experience of immigrants in England but I didn't really learn anything new and wasn't fascinated by anything the author wrote. I think he could of done so much more and written it better. It seemed more like a draft than a final copy.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ambar

    I am bit disappointed with the flow of story telling of this book. From chapter to chapter just like jumping in trampoline. Back forward then trow me to somewheres else. No surprises or interesting view apart from being exploring Bruce Springteen lyric. It should be lot better. Can not be compare with Monica Ali Brick Lane. Review in Bahasa Indonesia is here : http://ambarbriastuti.multiply.com/jo... I am bit disappointed with the flow of story telling of this book. From chapter to chapter just like jumping in trampoline. Back forward then trow me to somewheres else. No surprises or interesting view apart from being exploring Bruce Springteen lyric. It should be lot better. Can not be compare with Monica Ali Brick Lane. Review in Bahasa Indonesia is here : http://ambarbriastuti.multiply.com/jo...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shibbers

    Enjoyed it. Looking forward to the film and he is one of the few people to reference John Mellencamp and for that I salute him.

  26. 4 out of 5

    MsEleanorMae

    Great memoir. Loved the Bruce Springsteen thread. So hard being between two worlds. You are never one or the other. You are the constant struggle of both.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nashwa S

    This is one of those books where four stars feel too less and five stars feels like too much, but this memoir made me tear up in two to three different places, and just for that I'm going to be very generous with my rating! 5 stars it is. This is a memoir of Sarfraz Manzoor, a British Pakistani journalist who moved to the United Kingdom with his family at the age of three. Through non-linear essays, he takes on the theme of growing up in the UK in the 70s and 80s, in an extremely racist environm This is one of those books where four stars feel too less and five stars feels like too much, but this memoir made me tear up in two to three different places, and just for that I'm going to be very generous with my rating! 5 stars it is. This is a memoir of Sarfraz Manzoor, a British Pakistani journalist who moved to the United Kingdom with his family at the age of three. Through non-linear essays, he takes on the theme of growing up in the UK in the 70s and 80s, in an extremely racist environment. Growing up with a family that barely spoke English, Sarfraz highlights what a challenge it was to grow up with a sense of belonging and a sense of identity. His father worked in a factory, while his mother and sister contributed to the British economy by staying home and making dresses for big brands. Dealing with open racism, finding a place within your own community and trying to be a good Muslim, Sarfraz found someone who gave him comfort and a sense of belonging that person was a musician: Bruce Springsteen. As someone who loves music and has found a place in it too, I found this book and the author's love of Springsteen deeply relatable. For me, it's Queen and The Beatles who will always invoke emotions in me. This book is an ode and a thank you to Springsteen, as much as it is the author talking about his family and himself. While I'm not an immigrant - having been born and brought up in one country - there are many things I could also relate to especially in terms of sibling relationships. The author talks about his struggles growing up, fitting in and reconciling with the values of the country he grew up in. It's light reading and didn't require much brain power, but something I definitely enjoyed.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Denise Tarasuk

    Fantastic! Sarfraz wrote the most amazing memoir! Life is so special when you are able to read a special memoir that is honest and heart moving. To read and learn about his life, his feelings, and his family is truly an honor. I am so glad to pick up this book even though I missed the movie Blinded by the Light. I however, will watch it when it comes around again. Thank you Sarfraz, I was reading your book on Springsteen’s birthday. Although my husband, who is born in New Jersey, is the big fan, Fantastic! Sarfraz wrote the most amazing memoir! Life is so special when you are able to read a special memoir that is honest and heart moving. To read and learn about his life, his feelings, and his family is truly an honor. I am so glad to pick up this book even though I missed the movie Blinded by the Light. I however, will watch it when it comes around again. Thank you Sarfraz, I was reading your book on Springsteen’s birthday. Although my husband, who is born in New Jersey, is the big fan, your book sure gave me something to share with him. Thank you!!!! I found myself yelling down the stairs to him, “It is Springsteen’s birthday.” Celebrate!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sam Herbert

    An uplifting, heartwarming but, at times, heartbreaking memoir. A must-read for all Springsteen fans. Sarfraz dedicates each chapter to a different part of his life. For example, his relationship with his family, his desire to be something other despite the path set out for him, arranged marriage, friends, music and work. He is a British Pakistani Muslim living in Luton in the 1970's and 80's, battling against the Pakistani cultural upbringing that is expected of him, or embracing the British cu An uplifting, heartwarming but, at times, heartbreaking memoir. A must-read for all Springsteen fans. Sarfraz dedicates each chapter to a different part of his life. For example, his relationship with his family, his desire to be something other despite the path set out for him, arranged marriage, friends, music and work. He is a British Pakistani Muslim living in Luton in the 1970's and 80's, battling against the Pakistani cultural upbringing that is expected of him, or embracing the British culture he is immersed in. He is a misfit. He doesn't seem to fit in with any of the different groups that are surrounding him at school until, one day, he discovers Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen's songs inspire Sarfraz to chase his own dreams, not his parents' dreams, and, although he doesn't exactly rebel, he does worry that he's bringing shame on his family by doing so. He's a naturally gifted writer. This memoir is not in chronological order; instead each chapter is a different story, but it flows easily and I loved it. His love for his family is very clear but what is also clear is his desire for a different life. He discusses the 9/11 and 7/7 terror attacks and the dramatic change in the way he was treated by society because he was a Muslim. He also discusess the sacrifices his mother and father made so that their children could have a better life. This book is a love letter to his family, his home and, most importantly, Bruce Springsteen. The sections he writes about interacting with and meeting Bruce, and seeing him live in concert, brought tears to my eyes because I could relate to it. Sarfraz found a sense of belonging and community within the Springsteen fandom.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    It is interesting how Bruce Springsteen influenced Sarfraz Manzoor's life. I enjoyed how Sarfraz used Bruce Springsteen's music to illustrate certain big moments of his life. I liked learning about the Pakistani immigrant culture in Britain. The end of the book is more memoir and less music influence including passages about 9/11 and the Underground rail bombing in London. It is interesting how Bruce Springsteen influenced Sarfraz Manzoor's life. I enjoyed how Sarfraz used Bruce Springsteen's music to illustrate certain big moments of his life. I liked learning about the Pakistani immigrant culture in Britain. The end of the book is more memoir and less music influence including passages about 9/11 and the Underground rail bombing in London.

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