I love books by Jean Sasson. The first time I read on of her books I was in 11t Grade and it was probably my first non-fiction book. I have been a huge fan of hers ever since. I think her writing is simple but the stories in her books are heart wrenching. I remember I cried a lot when I read her book Mayada. She writes about women in the Muslim World. She writes about their oppression at the hands of those they love, oppression by their government and because of age old beliefs that are hard to shake even in this century.
This book is no different. For the Love of a Son is the story of a woman from Afghanistan called Maryam. Jean Sasson begins by telling us about Maryam’s grandmothers forced wedding to a man much older than her and the brutality she faced after he died. Maryam’s father was a very kind man in comparison to most of the Afghan men. She grew up under the loving protection of her much liberal parents and was, in a way, naive about the world around her. She saw them suffer abuse and thought them weak for not raising their voices.
But her perfect world came crashing down when their family had to flee Afghanistan after the Russian invasion. Their family immigrated to America where she thought she would be free from the sanctions imposed by Afghanistan government and their society. Maryam’s father married her off to a fellow Afghan who turned out to be a very violent and abusive man. When she had a son, he fled with him to Afghanistan.
This story is mainly Maryam’s but it is also the story of all the women who have suffered tremendously because of their government or their culture. This book tells us about so many such woman whom either Maryam knew personally or had heard about. I feel sad knowing there is so much cruelty against women, that their father’s, brothers and uncles who are supposed to love and cherish them, push them into a dark world and leave them without hope or self respect. It’s unbelievable how strong these women are even if it’s for the sake of their family, their children or themselves.
I will remember Maryam’s story for along time to come and I hope more people read this book.
Note: That’s Maryam on the cover by the way. Also, it’s surprising how much history of Afghanistan is covered in this book which was a plus point for me.