Home Latest “Through Her Eyes” Depicts The Experience Of Every First-Generation Immigrant

“Through Her Eyes” Depicts The Experience Of Every First-Generation Immigrant

A few weeks ago, Maheen Mazhar, the author of “Through Her Eyes,” reached out to Unwritten for a book review. 

While looking at the book excerpt, I was ecstatic to read it. Mazhar’s words resonated with me, especially as a first-generation immigrant living in a Westernized country. 

In “Through Her Eyes,” Mazhar recounts her experience moving and growing up as a Pakistani-American woman. She takes the readers on a journey from Lahore to New York, writing about the challenges she faced. 

The book resembles a personal essay since it heavily focuses on Mazhar and her family’s experience. As a result, she used a lot of first-person pronouns. Plus, Mazhar’s experience as an immigrant was mainly based on her own circumstances instead of other South Asian immigrant perspectives. 

Mazhar also dives into her own values as she explains what relationships, education, and work mean to her. 

I found this part interesting as I noticed that immigrant children often have a difficult time decoding these concepts. Many of us find ourselves at opposite ends of the spectrum, with our parents being more on the traditional end. 

An example of this is relationships. In high school, many immigrant children are told not to date, as their parents believe that having a partner is a waste of time. However, our peers often push us to find someone. And often, we find ourselves in a situation where we end up crushing on someone as much as we tried to avoid it. 

As a result, we often face challenges when siding with our parents and their traditional values while conforming to Western society. 

Mazhar explains her perspective on bridging two opposite ends of the spectrum together. Sometimes, Mazhar notices that her beliefs align more with Pakistani culture, but in other scenarios, Mazhar sees that she doesn’t feel fully Pakistani. Even though every immigrant child’s experience differs from Mazhar’s, I’m sure we can all relate to this. 

However, there are some concepts – as immigrant children – which we may have wished Mazhar would’ve covered. 

Since Through Her Eyes is a personal essay, I believe that it could’ve had more character development. 

We do see Mazhar starting her personal essay as a child trying to integrate into American society, all the way until she becomes a young adult in university. I do see some character development in terms of how Mazhar navigated her teenage and college years. But I find that her personal essay  primarily focused on reflecting why she’s different from her peers and why certain environments may be better for her. 

If Mazhar can dive more into how American society may have changed her personality over time and how her interests became more Westernized, I think it would’ve been a more eye-opening read for everybody. It would also allow everyone to self-reflect on how society shaped them. 

Furthermore, I feel that other topics which affect women of color, especially immigrant children, could’ve been covered more. 

I find it interesting how Mazhar was able to reflect on her own experiences and explain the clashes she faced as an immigrant. But I do believe that she focused solely on education, employment, class divide, and relationships. However, other topics, such as beauty standards, communicating in two different languages, and religious and racial discrimination, are also heavily affecting immigrant children. 

I think these topics would’ve added more depth to Mazhar’s personal essay. They would’ve allowed her to explain more about her character and how she overcame specific barriers. Moreover, they would’ve allowed Mazhar to recognize her own biases and privileges, as well as her own battles. As a result, she would be able to differentiate her own experience from others but be relatable to people who went through immigration

And by differentiating her experience, non-first-generation-immigrant Americans will be able to see the nuances as well. 

Overall, I give the book a rating of 7.5/10. Although Mazhar could’ve improved on some aspects, she was able to convey her perceptions in a relatable manner to all Gen Z and Gen Y immigrant children. 

As an immigrant child, I felt heard, seen, and motivated reading Mazhar write about her dreams in “Through Her Eyes.” And I think every immigrant child will feel that way after reading the book because, sometimes, we need a little oomph to navigate such barriers.

Featured image via Min An on Pexels



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