Well, I decided to write this, in spite of the fact that I am pathetic at writing reviews. So don’t read this as a review. It’s more like what I have got to say about a book, I read over the weekend.…
I have heard a great deal about how women in some parts of this world live lives which can hardly be called even a life, but this book for the first time made me really take a hard look at all the harsh realities and the feeling of being small and insignificant was accentuated in extreme after reading it. All the stuff I have doled out about, “Feminism is all about choice” etc feels minuscule and pathetic in comparison.
It’s not a literary piece so don’t expect flowery language. In fact this book did not even move me to tears in spite of graphic description of brutal traditions, grotesque customs and lastly unbelievable punishments in the name of God .They made me cringe and crinkle my face in disgust, but still I stayed dry eyed till the end. Maybe I was too shocked to cry. Maybe it was a pain I could not actually relate to. I don’t know.
The fate of the girl Sameera is the worst. How a whole household can watch their own daughter go mad steadily year after year in a dark room and hear her screams, only to nod in sympathy is beyond me. There is a part about circumcision which I thought (wrongly apparently) was subjected only on men. Nadia’s execution at the hands of her own father is only mildly shocking given that even in our own country female infanticide is quite trite. Sultana’s love for her husband in the beginning does not leave you inspired as it is clearly about lust and nothing else, but her commitment to her children and to work towards a better life where every women will have a voice is appreciation worthy. The fact that she has come out with this story itself speaks volumes.
In all read this book only if you must and in the knowledge that it will not leave you with any good feelings. I read it out of sheer curiosity about what goes on behind the veils and because I am after all, a woman too.