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Friday, 2 September 2011

Book Review-Fatwa by Jacky Trevane

In 1979 Jacky gets separated from her boyfriend in Egypt. Alone,injured, she is rescued by two Egyptian men whose family look after her for the rest of the holiday. By the time the holiday is over, she has married Omar and she prepares for a new life with him in Egypt, to the horror of her family. But after the wedding, the dream soon becomes a nightmare and Jacky is subjected to physical, mental and sexual abuse and decides she and her children must run away.

OK, I can't even start to talk about the stupidity of Jacky. She and her boyfriend arrived in Egypt with no hotel booked, no idea where they were going and make the insane decision to get on the first bus that came along having no idea where it was going. Then the pair get separated as they both try to get off the overcrowded bus and Jacky is left at the side of a road in a residential area with a twisted ankle. Clever. Enter the dashing, charming Omar who looks after her during the holiday and is her husband within 10 days of meeting. This was not smart thinking by anyone's standard!!!

I admit that Jacky's boyfriend was no big prize as he only started looking for her after 7 days when his new drinking buddies left the country. What a stand up guy! I'd have loved to see the look on his face on the flight home when Jacky told him she was now married to someone else! That was certainly amusing.

I might mock her decision making but you have to have a very hard heart not to have sympathy for the life she ended up living. Yes she should have made sure that she knew exactly what beliefs her husband had, what lifestyle he expected her to conform to and what was expected of a Muslim wife. But nobody deserves the abuse that she was subjected to including being beaten by her husband because she was raped by his brother. That sickened me and so did the beating that caused her to lose her baby.

So Jacky, with help from the British embassy and her schoolteacher friends, hatches a plan to escape into Israel for a flight to the UK. This part of the book was full of tension and you can really feel the fear in her, knowing that if she is caught she will be killed.

You do know the outcome of her escape before you open the book as the back cover tells you that she escapes back to England, which is annoying, but you can guess that if she didn't escape there would be no book at all. I did skim through the early parts of the book which dragged a bit as it was focusing on her romance.

This book serves as a warning to all western women about marrying abroad. I'm not saying that all marriages to Muslim men will be like this, as obviously that is not true and many are happy in their new life. I'd just advise that you must be sure you know exactly what you are getting into before you do it.

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