Monday, September 7, 2009

"Beneath My Mother's Feet" by Amjed Qamar

Nazia is a Indian schoolgirl devoted to her mother and the life her mother has planned for her - to be married later this year (her fourteenth) and become a dutiful wife and daughter-in-law in her new family. Nazia's life, however, takes a sudden turn when her working class family is suddenly plunged into poverty upon the loss of her father's job. A plummeting drop in pride and social standing follows as Nazia and her younger siblings must follow their mother into housekeeping (and living in a shack on the grounds) for a wealthier woman.

Nazia is determined to rise from poverty, and even begins to question marrying her bethrothed, but to do so means doing the unimaginable - breaking from the sacrificial duty expected of her from her mother and family. Will she be able to risk all in her quest for a better life?

The tale of Nazia and her family makes one realize that a life free from having to daily find food, shelter, and a measure of safety are not to be taken for granted. A book is a success when it makes me wonder how would I measure up if I were placed in the position of Nazia. How would one not only survive but thrive, imagining a life that has not before been part of your imagination? One is left to compare one's own hopes and dreams with the ones of the characters in this novel.

Rated FOUR out of FIVE stars.

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