The central character of Full Circle by Regina Timothy escaped an honor killing by her family in Iraq and managed to flee to the U.S. I've read a really extraordinary book about an honor killing in the Druze community of Israel called The Seven Perfumes of Sacrifice
which I reviewed here. In that review I discuss honor killing as a world wide trans-cultural phenomenon. I didn't choose to read Full Circle because it was about an honor killing. Its themes are broader. It deals with a number of issues that have been at the center of discussion in the U.S. That's why I requested it for from the author in return for this honest review.
In addition to honor killings, Timothy's characters grapple with immigration, terrorism, Islamophobia, the impact of the Iraq War on both Iraqis and Americans, income disparity, bullying and the often related issue of school shootings. So Full Circle is very topical. I appreciated seeing how the author made connections between all these issues through the events of her plot.
I admired central character Samia Al-Sayid's ability to survive so much adversity. She isn't a strong woman protagonist on the model of Wonder Woman. Some readers appear to believe that only women who are action heroes can be considered strong, but Samia is internally strong. That is why she is the one left standing amidst so much tragedy.
As other reviews have mentioned, the story is often quite moving but since this is a first novel, I was not surprised to find flaws. There are moments of overt didacticism in which the author appears to be telling us what to think through the mouth of her protagonist. I'd prefer not to see that in a novel. Readers should be considered capable of drawing their own conclusions from events. Full Circle could also use more thorough proofreading. There were occasional missing words and words out of order in common phrases or place names. As a New Yorker by birth, I considered "Central Grand Station" instead of Grand Central Station the most obvious example. The errors weren't frequent, and I was able to determine what the author intended. Many readers may not be bothered by mistakes that don't interfere too much with the book's readability. Yet I feel that authors should take care that published products offered for sale on websites represent their best work.
When I ran a search on Regina Timothy, I expected to find that she is an American or an immigrant to the United States. I was surprised to learn that she is a Kenyan who resides in Kenya. Full Circle shows so much familiarity with the social reality of immigrants and minorities in the U.S. This represents a great measure of success in her first novel. So I recommend that Timothy continue to practice her craft. Her future work can only improve.