Deepali Joshi Adhikary
Book Review – For the Love of a Son
“For the Love of a Son” is a heart-wrenching story of a mother who tries desperately to find her stolen son, but is equally devastated when she actually finds him. Nevertheless, a mother’s forgiving and compassionate heart does not blame the child and hopes for his well-being even if it comes at a price of hating his mother. In this biography of Ms Maryam Khail, Jean Sasson reaches out to the mother in you and when you realize that you would do the same in that situation, somewhere the die-hard feminist within surrenders to the love of a mother. I am glad I read this one.
Maryam is a spirited young girl born to broad-minded and progressive parents living in Kabul. Her father, in spite of undergoing severe brutality at the hands of his step-brother, is very considerate and liberal. He finds his soul-mate in Maryam’s mother who is equally open-minded and shuns the oppressive attitude of Afghanistan towards women. Both of them raise their two daughters in a supportive environment and emphasize that they are educated and independent. This near-perfect picture, however, is shattered by Russia’s invasion and the family is forced to flee from the beloved motherland. After spending some time in India, Maryam along with her father moves to the USA. Maryam’s otherwise liberal and open-minded father makes her marry an Afghan in spite of the warnings from some family and friends about his violent streak. And then begins Maryam ordeal.
Raped, abused and tortured Maryam finds solace when she bears a son. All her sufferings become bearable as she lovingly cares for her baby. But when she realizes that Duran, her son, might become the victim of his father’s irrepressible fury, she decides to take her son and leave him. Her husband, however, does the unimaginable. He steals two-year old Duran and flees to Afghanistan. All the attempts to get back her son are in vain. Maryam decides to move on and marries Khalid and moves to Saudi Arabia.
After almost 16 long years, Maryam finally meets Duran. But what she sees completely shatters her. A boy raised by an abusive father in a war-struck country had lost his innocence and charm. All Maryam could do was pray for his well-being.
For the Love of a Son is strong and intense. Sasson’s captivating narration makes it very appealing and it lingers in your mind for a long time. Emotional turmoil of a mother and a woman’s right to exist with dignity are two factors that emerge in your thoughts when you read this fascinating book. If you like this particular genre, you cannot dislike this one.