I cannot remember who recommended this book, but whoever it was thank you.
The story is based around two main characters, Zara Kaleel, a gifted woman who finished top of Law School and landed a top job in good Chambers in London. Her life was mapped out for her, an arranged marriage, and a good job. Until she got rid of both the husband and the job, and took a job at a charity who looked after abused women.
The second character is Jodie Wolfe, a sixteen year old white girl with a severe facial deformity. The daughter of a single parent, an alcoholic mother, and living in a rundown house on a rough estate her life is not easy.
Jodie walks into Zara’s life when she accuses a group of four boys from her school of gangrape. The boys are all Muslim and from good families. They deny the accusation and give their own version of events.
Will anybody believe Jodie’s account over the four lads, and if they do, can they prove it beyond reasonable doubt.
This book is about so much more than just the rape of a young girl. It’s about attitudes, both preconceived, and actual, which are prevalent in today’s society.
The story itself is stunning. As a reader I was swayed in both directions. At different times I believed both Jodie and the four boys alternatively.
Some of the lads in this book lead a life of entitlement that their parents may have earned, but which they wrongly bask in.
The hatred that is extended to Jodie, by people who should be supporting her is unimaginable, but realistic in the way it is portrayed.
Worse still is the hostility extended to Zara by her own community.
Had the book been written by anybody else I don’t know how much emphasis I’d have put on the feelings that are running through the Muslim Community when it comes to the unwavering belief they have in the word of the young men, and the hold these young men have over their families.
I looked Kia Abdullah up on the internet, she is definitely qualified to right about this community in a way that most of us may never fully understand. But this book may go a long way to helping us.
This could have been a true story and it would not have had more of an impact on me. I felt like I was following a news story in fast forward.
It’s not often a book has me hooked as much as this one did. Thankfully I was in holiday so sitting reading all day was permissible, which was good, because once I’d started this, I was never going to put it down
Publishers: HQ HarperCollins
Publishing date: 8thAugust 2019