*MIGHT INCLUDE SPOILERS*
So this was a borrowed read. I had this book on my “want to read” list and a friend of mine borrowed it to me to read.
The book is based o the protagonist, Firdaus’ life, which she tells from her prison cell as she awaits her final day in life. The story starts off innocently, but all the experiences of life and situations she fights through in her lifetime turn her into a “hard, almost fearless” type of woman. She speaks about the things that happened to her without seeking sympathy, almost as it she has accepted her fate.
The book is basically an interview of Firdaus, in a prison cell, as she awaits her death sentence day. Firdaus tells the story of how she has endured abuse (in all its many forms), humiliation, degrading treatment and so much more, mostly from the hands of the men she comes across in her life. Her childhood was of poverty and abuse, from people including her father and uncle (who takes her in). She ends up going to a boarding school, and possibly falling in love with her teacher. This brings her some sense of peace, but it all ends once school comes to an end. After all her sufferings, she at the core explains how she ends up a prostitute, the men and their impact on her and the many decisions she had to make to choose that life… And how it led her to point zero. Becoming a prostitute seemed to be the only way she could have control over her own life, and her body… and find an identity in the midst of all that.
At the end of the book,my biggest take away was that she was at peace. At peace with her life, her experiences and the consequences of her actions. She really had no regrets.I think the tile of the books explain how someone might have to hit rock-bottom before they can really find their true selves and accept life as it is. Firadaus could not go lower than the point she is at in her life. She was finally free.
There were so many words I could use here, because this entire book made my chest thump… But here are my top 3:
“I hope for nothing/I want for nothing/I fear nothing/I am free.” (this was something Firdaus was humming).
“A man does not know a woman’s value, Firdaus. She is the one who determines her value.”
“All women are victims of deception. Men impose deception on women and punish them for being deceived, force them down to the lowest level and punish them for falling so low, bind them in marriage and then chastise them with menial service for life, or insults, or blows.”
The book is pretty straightforward, and does not sugar-coat anything and it is a short read. I really think every woman should read this book at some point in her life, I promise you will find a scene that you absolutely relate to.
At some point, both men and women have been Firdaus. Or maybe are yet to be.
P.S The book may be triggering for some people, due to its constant theme of sexual, domestic, emotional, mental, physical abuse and rape.
I rated this book a solid 5/5. Excellent.
Until next review.