Book: Diary of a Guji Girl
Author Qaanitah Hunter
Publisher: Wordflute, 2014
Reviewer: Fatima Haffejee
The phenomenon of online accessibility has become far reaching and the popularisation of the bloggersphere has made it a suitable platform for wanna-be writers. A blog, by definition is a website that contains a writer’s, or a group of writer’s, opinions and experiences.
Whilst most attempts at blogging reaches the borderline at some period or another, some continue to prosper. Diary of a Guji Girl a case in point.
I’ll be honest, at some point, I lost track of the storyline. I couldn’t handle Amina’s inability to get over herself and as an avid reader, I would rather contend with reading a book in its entirety than having to be frustrated with Amina on an almost everyday basis. Thousands of DOAGG (as it affectionately became known) readers could be seen seething in the comments section of the blog itself. Some, like me, wanted more depth from its main character, whilst others, with a limit to their patience and no concern for the writer’s personal life, demanded more regular posts (as if they were paying for the contents provided).
A year and some months later, Diary of a Guji Girl, has catapulted from a blog into a book. Having reached over 2 million views, this was probably deemed as inevitable.
For those who are not acquainted with the blog a break down of what the book is about follows.
What makes it additionally interesting was that the places featured in DOAGG are largely familiar many of us, making it a proudly South African read.
Amina, is a small-town girl, who pursues a career in teaching in, well, a big-town. Coalesced, big town ideals in a small town girl, results in an adulated love, scandalous gossip, a dozen (rather oily) samoosa runs, spiritual insight and a depth that was otherwise lacking is the denouement of a coup de grace.
Throw in handsome, rugged, rich, charismatic and dubious Moe, whose very existence is an oxymoron to Amina’s. Ayesha, the cousin who falls in love and then goes on to marry someone who is regarded as ‘unsuitable’, leaving a steady flow of gossip in her wake as a result. The gentle, kind, spiritually knowledgeable Suhail, an unlikely friend to Moe and Sumayya, the friend who concludes that the ‘M’ word is infact, blasphemy of sorts and you have yourself of pot of Biryani with more speed bumps (elachi) than you (or anyone else for that matter) can handle.
It had taken me all of three hours to read the book in its entirety and even though I had kept up with the blog for the most part, it all seemed relatively new. The pivotal aspect of any reading material for me is the ability to either relate or actualize the emotions relayed through-out. Qaanitah, the author, of Diary of a Guji Girl, has certainly managed to grasp the significant impact of certain key stereotypes that plague the psyche of the Indian populace and perhaps the Muslim community in general.
It is for this reason (amongst many others) that DOAGG has risen to popularity in such a short span of time. The social order to which we are expected to conform is not often addressed in such simple terms and it is easy to point out the areas of concern in Amina’s life.
As an avid reader it isn’t often that I come across a book whose conclusion leaves me contented. I like to be left reassured that the conclusion is as an off-set for the blunders that might have inadvertently occurred. And I was not to be disappointed, for the finale of DOAGG has made its publication into book-form a worthwhile one.
UPDATE: Diary of a Guji Girl has been SOLD OUT in all independent bookstores.
We have the last few books available exclusively for blog readers. If you still want a copy email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Al Ansaar is expected to receive a reprinted batch towards the end of the month. There is an exciting launch planned but I will tell you more about it closer to the time.
Major bookstores will iA stock Diary of a Guji Girl in the new year.
If you bought a copy and read it, let us know what you thought of it using the hastag #DiaryofaGujiGirl
On Monday night I was hosted by Ilm SA in Durban for the first official launch of Diary of a Guji Girl.
The only word I have to describe the evening is incredible.
The launch took place at Randerees Braai Ranch in Sherwood and had a very relaxed and informal atmosphere.
Ladies enjoyed dinner individually before the formal programme began.
A relaxed discussion ensued about the journey of writing the book.
I liked how the conversation flowed and that the audience was amazingly responsive.
Also, I enjoyed what a cosmopolitan crowd rocked up for the event- across the age group and social strata.
It was definitely a night to remember.
Most of the books were sold out very quickly and once again I am truly appreciative.
Quick update: Cii Stores in Lenasia is now sold out. Al Ansaar has a few left. You can still purchase from Timbuktu Books in Cape Town, Al Huda in Mayfair and Iqra Agencies in Pretoria.
For those who want it delivered to their door- the epurchase option is still open. You can email email@example.com.
Look out for updates on new launches.
Once again, I appreciate all the support.
On Sunday, the Diary of a Guji Girl team was hosted by the lovely ladies of Polokwane for the first unofficial launch of the book Diary of a Guji Girl.
Sales were opened and within minutes all allocated books were sold out.
It was a truly overwhelming to see how many people were so excited about the book.
As of Monday, the team began dispatching the online orders- for those who have ordered, your order will be dispatched sometime this week.
Also, independent book stores have already started sales.
Cii Stores in Lenasia, Al Huda in Mayfair, Timbuktu Books in Cape Town and Al Ansaar Book store in Durban all have books.
The retail price is R200.
In other good news, the first official launch has been confirmed for Durban next Monday.
Diary of a Guji Girl will be hosted by Ilm SA at Randerees Braai Ranch, 49 Collingham Road.
It is schuduled for R7:30 Pm and entry is free.
(Note from IlmSA: It would be appreciated if the audience supports Randerees by purchasing dinner. You can arrive early for Maghrib and dinner if you wish.”
A limited number of books will be on sale.
For those of you who have already received your copies of the book, let us know your thoughts.
Again, it has been an incredible journey. And it is just the beginning.
The time has finally arrived where we have begun the process of dispatching Diary of a Guji Girl books to you the loyal readers.
For those who want early copies delivered directly to your door, you can still email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are in Polokwane, you are in luck. The first unofficial launch will be hosted by Daarul Hikmah lil Banaat at thier Jalsa on Sunday November 30. For more information you can contact 0826460505. Proceeds from sales of the book will go towards the Madressah.
Our official launch as been confirmed for Durban on Monday, December 8 at 7pm.
Save the date, I will post more details on Monday.
Independent bookstores such as AlAnsaar Book store, Al Huda and Cii stores will be stocking the book soon.
Franchise and bigger book stores will start stocking copies in the new year only.
Once again, shukran for the support.
I hope you had a fantastic weekend and are looking forward to December as much as I do.
We have some great news for the Diary of a Guji Girl readers.
InshAllah, we are set to launch the book in the first week in December.
This is just in time for the break where you can put you feet up and enjoy the book with a lovely cup of chai.
The first launch would be in Durban but the details will be posted closer to time.
We will be sure to let you Durbanites know when and how you can get a good dose of Amina.
But for our loyal Diary of a Guji Girl readers- we have decided to give you the honour to have the book weeks before it enters book stores.
The book is due to retail at R200 per copy- with additional courier costs.
We have since opened a pre-order system, where should you like the team to secure a book for you, send an email to email@example.com.
The email should include your name, number, city you live in and quantity you would like.
You will be sent an email in reply from November 27 onwards.
Prompts should be followed and in no time your copy would be on its way.
Once again, Shukran for reading Diary of a Guji Girl.
I was delighted at the response to what you readers liked best of Diary of a Guji Girl.
The response was phenomenal and overwhelming.
It is heartwarming to see so many people anticipating the release of my debut novel.
For the competition… unfortunately, there only could be one winner.
And through a random selection @SumayaParuk is the winner of one of the first copies of Diary of a Guji Girl.
Please send me an email Sumaya and I will take it from there.
For everyone else that is looking forward to the book… in a few days time we will be making details public.
Shukran for the support.
This is the very, very first printed copy of the Diary of a Guji Girl book!
I still haven’t laid my hands on it but I was too excited not to share it with you guys.
Tell me what you think about it?
A full list of stockists and launch details would be made public soon.
We will also have a pre order option which we would be opening in the next few days- so look out for that!
Oh, how could I forget?! One lucky Diary of a Guji Girl reader is set to one one of the first printed copies.
To stand a chance to win, all you have to do is tweet using the hashtag #DiaryofaGujiGirl and what you liked most about the blog.
The competition opens tonight and lasts until Thursday midnight.
The winner will be announced on Friday, InshAllah.
But in the mean time, here is another sneak-peak!
Love and peace
Are you a writer but too afraid to get your work out there?
Don’t worry, we were all there at some point.
And in the world of the internet, it has become easier and easier to get your thoughts and ideas out there.
With a click of a button or two, your work can be out there for the world to consume.
Blogging has been a phenomon around for several years, but has become very popular in the last three years.
We all consume blogs of all types as a way to keep up with fashion, to read witty thoughts or even to keep up with a certain Guji Girl.
As a journalist, I often belitteled the role of blogging in a community.
But I have since met a journalist who gave up her career as a news journalist to blog full time.
There are many perks to blogging which beauty bloggers particularly will tell you about.
There are lots of freebies and free holidays at times.
But besides all of this, to me, blogging is expression and a creative outlet.
Apart from jotting down your thoughts, there is a huge window of opportunity to improve ourself creatively and try our hand at innovation.
And as a result of popular demand, I have gathered a team of experts or generally cool people conduct a workshop on blogging or ‘mlogging’ (muslim blogging).
While I believe there is no mould for blogging, but some good guidelines and tips are always helpful.
This is if you are a writer and want to break out of your shell or you just want to network with other writers.
I have ear marked November 22 from 10- 12am in Johannesburg. (Ladies only)
For more details email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The time towards the official release of the Diary of a Guji Girl novel is drawing closer.
And everyone is excited!
I am overwhelmed at the support and interest that you the readers have showed in the news that we are launching soon.
But there are a million questions on everyone’s minds, so I compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions and its answers.
Is the book about Aminah?
Yes. That is the short answer.
The long answer is that we consolidated all the posts from the beginning of the blog, polished it and perfected it for the readers.
The initial part of the story you may know already but it now has a spunky twist and more complete finish.
Does the book have the same characters like the blog?
We tried to keep most of the characters but we also eliminated a few. Also, there are some fresh voices too.
When will the book be out?
Very, very soon. (Official date to be announced).
Will the books be available in bookstore?
From January 2015 onwards you would be able to find it in a book store near you.
I like in Kuruman, there are no bookstores here- what about me?
Don’t worry we will have an early bird courier option which would deliver the book right to your door.
Why should I buy the book?
You tell me
Remember, keep the conversation alive using the hashtag #DiaryofaGujiGirl