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Literature / A Complicated Kindness

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Ever wonder what really goes on behind the scenes of conservative religious communities? A Complicated Kindness has the answers.

A Complicated Kindness is a novel by Canadian author Miriam Toews published in 2004. the book is narrated by Nomi Nickel, a 16-year-old girl living in a Mennonite community who recounts her daily life and past experiences in a distinctively nonlinear and conversational tone.



  • Bald Women: Nomi shaves her head after giving herself a terrible haircut.
  • Canada, Eh?: Averted. The members of the community are anything but cheerful, and Nomi dreams of living in New York.
  • Ill Girl: Lids.
  • New Media Are Evil: Various members of the community disapprove of such things as movies and rock music.
  • No Dress Code: An odd example. The school staff object to Nomi's excessive make-up and jewelry, but not her skimpy clothing.
  • Stripperific: Towards the end of the book, Nomi shaves her head, dons excessive amounts of makeup, and forgoes traditional clothing in favour of a bikini top and cut-offs. This is implied to be one of the reasons behind her excommunication.
  • Who Wears Short Shorts?: Nomi does, to the fascination of her car wash employer.

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