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By Pearl Abraham

Strengthen Uncorrected facts, American Taliban, a singular, Pearl Abraham, Random apartment, writer, 254 pgs., "an intimate portrait of ways a roughly traditional American boy can be seduced through the assumption of filing to Islam". . .

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If Jilly had miscalculated or misstepped, it was due simply to enthusiasm and high spirits, which didn’t deserve punishment. When she realized what the judges had done, Katie came forward and did the right thing: she filed a request that the penalty not be charged on her behalf. It had been an irregular wave that looked as if it would close out, she explained, and then it curled at the last minute. Predictably, this made the judges like Katie more, which was to her benefit, since the rules called for subjective judging with extra points awarded for innovation and difficulty, for style, power, and speed in the most critical phases of the wave.

This was not what he had bargained for. This could not be his year off. What would he do? It was mid-August, the fifteenth or sixteenth, or was it already the seventeenth, he wasn’t sure now, but the next three months in a cast would be three months of forever. He would miss an entire fall of his life, September, October, and part of November, when the best waves came east. Unable to surf, he couldn’t stay on at OBX as planned, which would make Barbara happy. There’s a time for everything, she liked to say, and September is the time to go back to school and books and the fall season.

Too many of his friends, she worried, were virtual. Even their names, she said, were strangely biblically foreign: Josiah, Naim, Tajh, Ahmed, Jacques, Ibrahim. People don’t always use their real names online, John explained. Of course, it’s a mother’s job to worry. She checked her copy of his summer reading list which she’d stuck on the fridge and noted that he was still on the books scheduled for the first two weeks of June: the Tao, the Whitman, Emerson, and Dylan. At this rate, she said, your summer reading will take all year.

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