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Book Review for: Shamed by Sarbjit Kaur Athwal

Reading Shamed by Sarbjit Kaur Athwal horrified me. It horrified me to know that there are people in this world who are so cruel, so disgusting and utterly terrifying. It frightened me so much that at a point I was genuinely scared to read ahead, I was conflicted between keeping it aside to never know what happened next or finishing it up so I could finally sleep at night without constantly thinking about it.

All Sarbjit’s sister-in-law Surjit wanted was freedom from her cruel and abusive in-laws, and the only way she could achieve that was by getting a divorce. But what would the so-called society think? Thought the in-laws, a divorce would tarnish their reputation, so it was decided; she had to be ‘honor killed’. Sarbjit could do nothing but wait in horror as her mother-in-law took Surjit away from Hayes to India to ‘get rid of her.’ If Sarbjit dared to say a word, her fate would be as horrifying as her late sister-in-law: strangled and thrown into a river near a neighboring country – never to be found again. How would she ever find justice for Surjit while being surrounded by the murderers inside her own home?

Sarbjit was never allowed to make friends when she was young, nor was she allowed a basic freedom during her childhood, and if it wasn’t for the British law, she couldn’t have gotten into school, either. She spent her childhood in taking care of her siblings and cousins, or cooking and cleaning. If that wasn’t enough, she was sent to India to get an ‘extensive training’ on how to be a good wife by relatives she barely knew. I felt sorry for her, especially when she realized how she missed out on all the bright prospects in her life because of the strict rules given by her family.

This book made me realize how privileged I was while growing up. In fact, I always thought everyone else grew up the same way as I did, but I was so wrong.

The courage Sarbjit Kaur Athwal summed up to write this book was worth admiring. For someone who grew up by the opinions of the society, this book was a major step into expressing the harsh truth. Her bravery has been underrated, though. I had to use the word ‘underrated’ because, I couldn’t believe what some book reviewers wrote about this memoir on Goodreads. They were blaming the author for not doing things she clearly explained why she couldn’t do. I mean, this book wasn’t a work of fiction; she couldn’t have changed the story’s course the way she would’ve wanted. That’s not real life, so stop being naïve.

Ouff…. This book was a lot to take it. I need a break. 5/5

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