Defending Hope

Danny Odato
Outskirts Press (2014)
ISBN 9781478732976
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (02/15)

“Defending Hope” by Danny Odato is based on the real life story of one family’s fight for survival in war torn Afghanistan.  We follow Kamran, his brother Malek, his sister Elaha and his parents, Karim and Sima, as they make their way through the perils of ongoing war in their country. 

When Karim learns of the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, he makes the decision to move his family from Gazni to Mazar-i-Sharif, certain they will be safe in this city.  The family faces many hardships and endure a seemingly endless number of obstacles.   Kamran finds out he is not the true son of Karim and Sima and sets off with his wife and child to find his real parents.  Malek, a boy of 12, grows up quickly when he has to defend his new home.  Elaha, a self-proclaimed modern woman, wants to find her own husband instead of having a pre-arranged marriage.

I really enjoyed this story.  The author does a good job describing the turmoil in Afghanistan and that terrible time in recent history.  The characters are well developed, eventually.  I found them a bit hard to relate to at first but as the story progressed I came to know each of their personalities better, struggling along with each family member as they make the best choices they can to improve their lives in hope for a better future.  The behaviors of each family member seemed true to faith and way of life, and knowing that this story was based on a true story, endeared me to the characters even more.  The importance of family is the stronghold of this story. I also learned quite a bit from this book as it is apparent the author did a good deal of research before putting pen to paper.

I recommend “Defending Hope” by Danny Odato to all lovers of a good historical fiction novel.  I will be interested in checking out other works by this author. 

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