CHILD OF DESTINY by RODNEY ST CLAIR BALLENDEN.
SOURCE: Received from the author.
Born in 1980, ten years after the revolution, Azeha, now sixteen years of age, rebels against the restrictions of Sharia law and the teachings of her grandfather. She explodes into a life outside of her traditional family values and when placed under house arrest she escapes into the safe custody of a local women's political organization. She meets and falls in love with an American soldier operating clandestinely in her home town of Asadiyeh and elopes with him back to the United States. A child is born, but is mentally ill and the dream becomes a nightmare. Her privileged western life style deteriorates and she finds herself estranged from her husband and on the streets running from the police. Released from prison on a technicality she returns to the small coastal town where her baby is buried in search of peace and the love she imagined as a young woman. In Child of Destiny Rodney has created a disturbing character in Azeha. She is in all of us, innocent yet flawed, in search of a single identity to define herself.
...... Outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Security Check): The main security gates to Folds Fern, a private golf estate on the eastern coastline, south of Baltimore, approach, and Chuck slows to a crawl.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 53): She was nine year old, and she suddenly became another person. From that day forth she wore the hijab not to keep up with social norms, but to hide her new self in shame and the torture she felt that having said no this once she would be forever more saying no.
MY THOUGHTS: Set ten years after 'the revolution' (quite what revolution we do not know) a considerable amount Azeha/Ferra's story takes place in a regime that has echoes of Iraq under Saddam Hussein.
Essentially the story of a clashing of cultures, of a young woman trying to find herself. Child Of Destiny tells the tale of sixteen year old Azeha/Ferra who caught between the 'ancient and the modern', between being an obedient granddaughter in a 'traditional' family and an outwardly confident Westernised young woman eventually finds herself living an almost chameleon-like existence as she tries to fit in.
Alas let down by the fact that it was somewhat incohesive. Nothing that I can put my finger on exactly except to say that the plot just didn't flow as well as it might and, given that some of the events were revisited on several occasions, the story could be a little repetitive. The author's exploration of the changing identity of Ferra was however admirably done, his descriptions of her life in her home village some of the most poignant I've ever read.
Disclaimer: Read and reviewed on behalf of the author, I was merely asked for my honest opinion, no financial compensation was asked for nor given.
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