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  • Shame
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on 17 April 2007
I have just read shame in 2 hours even though l should have been studying. It was compelling in every sense not least because of the endurance of the author who has shown unbelievable courage in the face of adversity. Whilst it is not representative of of all asians families in the UK, forced marriages are increasingly on the rise of that there is no doubt. I was deeply saddened as an Asian to see that family honour is more important that the happiness of children. This is a very accurate portrayal of asian culture. Shame brought to light the more sinister side of Asian culture, which needs to be acknowledged. Jasvinder, Shazia and the others have shown incredible courage to take the steps they have taken. The bond of family in an Asian culture is strong and the wrench of leaving may not be fully appreciated by non-Asians. This does not denegrate non-Asians but highlights in Shame the difficulties of leaving as well as the dangers. I am amazed that Jasvinder managed to achieve all that she has with such determination and focus. The attitude of her sisters is less understandable as l would have expected a greater level of support, l wonder what they were trying to uphold. At the every least with Jasvinders parents although misguided they were holding on at a way of life they were afraid of letting go. I highly recommend Shame as the first honest account of what is happening worldwide with regards to forced marriages. This is not overstated it just has not been exposed so openly. To write one's personal account is a brave beyond belief. The price paid by so many does not stop when they leave the home or seek refuge.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 28 March 2010
I used to read a lot of books, but hadn't read anything I would class un-put-downable for years....until I brought this last week. I actually thought it would just be a 'tie over' book until I got my hands onto something more substantial. How wrong I was! Yesterday I sat up until 3am because I couldn't sleep until I discovered what happened to Jasvinder and the women she tries to help. This book has gripped me in a way very few books have. Jasvinder is a real woman of courage, and I applaud her for highlighting such an uncomfortable subject and for telling her personal story without bias or self pity.

As I read it I kept thinking 'How can I not know this?' 'How can such things be happening to young women possibly living in my neighbourhood, and I - NO ONE - be aware of it?' It is shocking. And I am grateful to have read this because previously I was ignorant. I would hear about things like honour killings on the news, and think it's only an issue for Asian or other cultural minorities, and not really any of my business as a black British woman, but now I realise it's a disgrace and an affront to all society that such terrible lives are being led by some women in secrecy.

But there is a tremendously positive message running through this story, and Jasvinders courage and tenacity in improving her own life in the face of so many obstacles has really encouraged and strengthened me to face the problems in my own.

I hope her good work continues, she deserves all the help she can get.

I really love Jassey too!
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
A social commentary on a taboo subject. This is a story of the oppression and coersion of asian women, by their own families and community in this country.

Jasvinder was born and brought up in Derby, a vivacious young girl who wanted to do well at school and get a degree. Insted she was shown the picture of the man she was to marry at the age of 14, as her elder sisters were already married and were trapped in un-happy and forced marriages. Jasvider rebelled and ran away. living a life of misery and poverty while her parents denyed her exsistence. This book lifts the lid on the so called "loving families"the asians are supposed to have. The abuse and the pain of those women that goes un-registered while the government and the police remain "politically correct" and dont intervene in these "cultural practices".

This is a must read book for anyone who wants an insight into this problem which is facing the young asian women in this country, Police, social workers and everyone in authority, and anyone who wants to stop this outragious practice should read this book.

A social commentary on this sad problem.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2010
I picked this book up in a charity shop and am so glad I did because I found it such a compelling read. It is a searingly honest autobiography by a person who challenged the oppressive structures of the community she was born into. She paid a high price for doing so but her stand for personal dignity has come to be her life's work, as the latter part of the book relates. The author does not blanch from including details of her life which were not heroic either; this makes her story all the richer for its candour. In addition to chronicling the plight of women in south Asian societies, Sanghera also shines light on the lesser known obscenity of caste prejudice, as this also played a part in her story.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2007
This book is horrifying to read especially if you are a woman, but its an important book. "Honour" deaths and violence don't only happen in the middle-east. They happen anywhere there are immigrants who believe their "honour" and their families "face" is worth more than the lives and happiness of their children - and as this book makes clear its not always soley the men who are to blame, their wives, with the same beliefs, can often be active particpants in the abuse of their children. It really does make you shudder to read some of the stories in this book.

That the author managed to escape such a background is amazing in itself. This book chronicles a very hard journey to self-knowledge that is scattered with personal loss that is enough to break many people, who would rather be bashed and abused than be alone or cut off from their family forever.

Anyone who wants the know the reality of these frightend women's lives should read this book. Its a real eye-opener on the costs of violence vs family love.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 15 September 2007
Bought up in a similar culture to Jasvinder's I take my hat off to her for going through so much pain and heartache but she turned it around and used it as a positive! The book describes her story in a real and honest way. I utterly disagree with anyone who thinks that this book puts all asians into the same category, if anything this book highlights the fact that honour killings, forced marriages do go on..and no way implies all asians are the same. The book highlights the sheer fear and also lack of identity that these women go through when they do 'run away'. I was disowned and still am by my parents but I have no regrets in making a life for my self and my own family. Well done Jasvinder and keep up the great work!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2007
I have a habit of reading a chapter a day when I read a book, but this one I just couldn't put down. It's quite an amazing story, and I just want to meet this incredible woman. If you haven't read it yet, then I suggest you go out and buy it right now. Jas, you are one hell of a brave woman, and I congratulate you on all your amazing achievements.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 13 June 2010
I didn't realise till I read this book that forced marriages are against the law in this country, and so they should be. My heart goes out to all the girls that are forced in to unbelievable situations by their own parents, and then ignored when things go wrong. Jasvinder shows there is a way out, although very hard to do. An amazing lady, a fantastic book! Highly recommended.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 17 April 2007
I've read the other reviews to this book before composing my own. While it is understandable why people from the asian community would be annoyed that there is a stereotypical view presented to attitude toward marriage and family life, the stark open account of Jasvinder Sanghera's life is refreshing. The author has made right and wrong decisions in her life, and these are all reflected in her book, after all, who hasn't?

I, too have grown in Derby in the asian community and can relate to some of the content(also, hearing the same story 3rd or 4th hand through the community, knew a skewed perspective). It probably depends on the mindset you take when you begin to read it, as it can be thought of as a generalisation of the view of arranged marriage. It has been 20 years since a lot of what has happened, and the community has changed a lot. However, it is important that to remember that while it may be less prevalent, forced arranged marriages still do occur and women do need to know there is help out there. Issues on domestic violence, the way minority community is perceived by the authorities, and personal exprience of life all make this book very readable.

I would recommend this book to anyone, but I can understand how people would find a lot of fault with the actions of the author and how she handled her impossible situation. But this book is an account of her life, not a testament to how every asian girl should act when facing a similar difficult situation, so I think people who are concerned about this needn't be. I have known other girls in similar situations to volentarily disappear, but to hear someone who had the courage to return to their community is commendable.

I wish Ms Sanghera all the luck for her refuge, which helps so many women.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 24 February 2007
Shown a picture of a man her family intended to marry, Jasvinder refused. The rebellion was already in place; changing her hair, wanting to live in England yet not deny her own culture. This is a story of tremendous conflict not only within her family and community but within herself. The bewilderment at her appalling treatment and her great courage in trying to create her own life make this a special read.

Most amazing though is the coming to terms with the behaviour of her parents and the healing in helping others subjected to the same torment.

She brings these Derby streets to life, showing us another Britain unfamiliar to most of us, one that we drive past every day. May you sing louder and sweeter as the years roll on.
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