Amina: The Silent One
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (11/15)
Article first published as Book Review: ‘Amina: The Silent One’ by Fiza Pathan on Blogcritics.
“Amina: The Silent One” by Fiza Pathan tells a haunting tale of the degradation and inhumane treatment of women in India today. Though the story is fiction, the bitter realities behind the narrative cannot be ignored.
The story opens with Jaffar, who is lamenting over the fact that his wife just gave birth to their third daughter. With no thoughts of how to provide for yet another “ungainful” mouth, Jaffar and his wife take their yet unnamed daughter to see Jaffar’s mentor, Dr. Rahim Muhammad Sheikh, for advice. The doctor is incensed at the couple’s dehumanization of their daughter, and shames the new parents for their backwards attitude towards their girls. Dr. Sheikh’s adopted son, Jumman, names the baby Amina, after Dr. Sheikh’s own grandmother, and the couple is sent home with the advice to allow their daughters every opportunity in life, beginning with a decent education. Years later, tragedy strikes the family and Jaffar never recovers. Amina’s already delicate world is shattered in an instant, and yet it is only the beginning of the horror she will soon come to know as her life.
I have read a number of horror books in my time, and they all pale in comparison to this story. The author opened my eyes to the atrocities faced by women in India every day. I stand in utter disbelief that evil of this element still exists in this world. Given my own devices, I could not even begin to imagine the extent of physical and psychological abuse of the women in India, yet it is spelled out ever so clearly, through the exceptional writing talent of Fiza Pathan. The characters are so authentic I was affected by every single one of them, and the amazing use of creative elements made me feel like I was right there in the slums with Amina and her family.
"Amina: The Silent One" by Fiza Pathan is one of the most socially relevant books on the market today in my opinion, and I highly recommend it. I could not put this book down. I was totally captivated throughout the entire story, and Amina and her family will be in my head, and on my heart for some time to come.