First, let me say this is one of the most important books I have ever read. I worried at the start because the foreword was written the well-known atheist by Christopher Hitchens. I wondered what I, a Christ loving woman, would think of Ayaan's story. I thought, because of the foreword, that it was to be a story of movement from the Muslim faith to atheism. It is that story, but so much more. I have read "Half the Sky" by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn, and know about the atrocities toward women around the world. And frankly, I'm still trying to figure out my role, my reaction, toward female genital mutilation, arranged marriages, rape, human trafficking, etc., after having read that book. Now I have read the story of a real life woman having lived though some of those horrific practices. It has become personal to me. While in the line to pick up my independent, strong-willed daughter, I see girls exciting the high school covered in their hidjab. I pass women in the grocery store and see only their eyes. What are they thinking? What are they feeling? What is their life like? Is it the same as Ayaan's? I have a completely different thought process now. I don't know what I as one woman in the Midwest can do to help woman in bondage, but it is time to give serious thought and action to the matter.
If you are looking for a book you just can't stop reading despite the horrific subject matter and the fact that the Kindle version is 851 pages, I recommend "Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. But be warned, it will do more than bruise your heart. It will scrap the innocent cataracts from your eyes.
In Ayaan Hirsi Ali's words,
"The message of this book, if it must have a message, is that we in the West would be wrong to prolong the pain of that transition unnecessarily, by elevating cultures full of bigotry and hatred toward women to the stature of respectable alternative ways of life." Pg.823
"When people say that the values of Islam are compassion, tolerance, and freedom, I look at reality, at real cultures and governments, and I see that it simply isn't so. People in the West swallow this sort of thing because they have learned not to examine the religions or cultures of minorities too critically, for fear of being called racist. It fascinates them that I am not afraid to do so." pg. 825