AS A founder of the international Panchgani Writers Retreat, based in India, Shabnam Samuel has been surrounded by stories, but perhaps the most interesting one of all is her own.
The talented writer has confronted a painful past and delivered this moving memoir, split into four parts, which documents her challenge-filled journey.
When Shabnam was abandoned as a three-year-old, she was adopted by her strict grandparents and grew up under their watchful eye.
We learn how her Indian grandfather met her red-haired Russian grandmother and began a life in Cuttack. She grows up feeling lonely, without any acknowledgement from her biological parents and faces a number of challenges. Then in adulthood, she goes against her devout Christian grandparents’ wishes and enters a troubled marriage with a Hindu work colleague, who is 20 years older. After moving to USA with an increasingly estranged husband and her young son, she finally finds the courage to build a new life.
The engaging book takes the reader on an emotional, but ultimately rewarding journey of an outsider who doesn’t give up. Although the journey of a woman facing incredible obstacles and life challenges isn’t new, it is unique and written in a way that is very relatable.
The moving and inspiring memoir is the touching journey of a woman who in the face of adversity fought through life. With so many facing challenges during the pandemic, it is the kind of book that shows an ending is a new beginning and there is always hope.
Some pages are a difficult read and it takes a little time to build momentum, but that makes you appreciate the journey more and makes you root for the protagonist. The moving memoir preaches the message of believing in yourself when the world around you is filled with disbelievers.