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Shamed: The Honour Killing That Shocked Britain – by the Sister Who Fought for Justice
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Shamed: The Honour Killing That Shocked Britain – by the Sister Who Fought for Justice

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  487 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
In 1998, Sarbjit Athwal was called by her husband to attend a family meeting. It looked like just another family gathering. An attractive house in west London, a large dining room, two brothers, their mother, one wife. But the subject they were discussing was anything but ordinary. At the head of the group sat the elderly mother. She stared proudly around, smiling at her c ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 20th 2013 by Virgin Books (first published June 1st 2013)
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Jun 26, 2014 Caroline rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world
I found the first part of the book fascinating - describing the author's upbringing in a loving but strict Sikh family, where she was strongly protected from any contamination from standard British culture. For instance she went to an ordinary school, but the moment she got home she had to take off her uniform. She wasn't allowed to go to the homes of the other school children, or allowed to invite any of them back to her house. She was brought up almost wholly within the confines of her own cul ...more
Jessica Fitzgerald
Jul 13, 2013 Jessica Fitzgerald rated it it was amazing
Absolutely amazing. I can't imagine how Sarbjit went through all this. She is the one of the bravest people I have ever come across. She is absolutely amazing. I loved reading the book and can't imagine what it was like for her to go through all that, I'm so glad it was all worth it in the end and justice has been made. She did what she had to do even though she was risking her own life to protect someone else's name and she fought until the end. So glad I read this book it's now one of my favou ...more
Mar 18, 2014 Birgit rated it really liked it
I wouldn't say this was an enjoyable read but it was a very interesting read. It was a clash of cultures, they lived within their Indian Sikh culture/religion in a western world where honoring your elders is everything and bringing shame upon your family should be avoided at all costs.

Surjit unfortunately brought shame on her family simply because she was fighting against the restraints of an abusive and bullying mother in law and husband. Being exposed to the western way of life was very tempti
Cindy Tansin
This was a very interesting story with great potential. It was written quite well, but could have been told better. Two things kept this from being a really entertaining story: 1) She was a victim from start to end. I would have preferred she would have been stronger and chose to dictate her own path rather than simply going along, and 2) The story was almost entirely narrated. We were told what happened instead of sharing in the dialog and coming to our own conclusion from watching the scene. T ...more
Emma MacDonald
Jul 12, 2013 Emma MacDonald rated it it was amazing
Normally, I tend to go for fiction over biographies or, in this case, memoirs, but something about this book jumped out at me. I decided to buy and I'm so glad that I did. This is an incredible story, and a rare insight into such a culture. I was inspired by Sarbjit's struggle to seek justice for her sister-in-law, going against decades of indoctrination and cultural pressure to fight for what she believed in. Honour killings are often so well covered up and I found it so interesting to see how ...more
Safina Hussain
Dec 25, 2015 Safina Hussain rated it it was amazing
There are books and then there is this book. WOW. To begin with I wasn't sure whether I was going to enjoy this, as although this topic interests me, there aren't many books that can do it justice. Sarbjit's story resonated with me in more ways than one and I hated that it came to an end, despite being glad that the evil of Bachan and Sukhdave was finally realised. There are many Sarbjit's and Surjit's living among us and I hope and pray that this book helps then to see that they don't have to p ...more
Myrtle Siebert
Feb 12, 2014 Myrtle Siebert rated it really liked it
Shelves: fundamentalism
This is a story I already knew a great deal about from media coverage at the time the incident happened and after during the court case. But when I mentioned having read the book many of my friends seemed unfamiliar with the issue.
I appreciated the insight to the Sikh religion, the practices and prayer, vegetarianism, the arranged marriage custom practiced, even by immigrants to Britain.
A forward written by detective Clive Driscoll who took up the case for Sarbjit and saw it to conclusion expla
Jul 28, 2013 Katie rated it really liked it
Sarbjit Kaur Athwal has to be one of the bravest women I've read about. It is hard to think stories like this are truly happening everyday in some families. The ideas of honour and shame being more important than a perspn's happiness, well-being and even their lives. I guess it is easy for those of us who are raised in Western culture to judge the people who practise such different beliefs to us, but as Sarbjit mentions, when you grow up and are born into such rigid family structures, it seems n ...more
This is not most smoothly written story. The flow in some sentences could have been better, for instance. How it is an engrossing read about culture, crime, and honor. Athwal is not critical of her religion (rightly) but more critical of the culture that allows for such things. Additionally, she also notes the failings of local authorities.
Oct 27, 2013 Sonika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was an autobiography of the life of Sarbjit Kaur Athwal,a British-born Indian. It is a story of pain, betrayal and the on-going fear of death.
Married in her late teens, Sarbjit was despised by her mother-in-law, who at any given chance would degrade and humiliate her daughter-in-laws. Sarbjit and her sister-in-law, was subjected to violence and continuous threats, to preserve the family honour.
This is the story of a brave woman, who stood up against, her family, violence, honour and
Nov 17, 2013 Fiona rated it it was amazing
A rating of 5 out of 5 means "this book is amazing". Amazing would actually be the wrong word to describe this - it is horrifying and chilling but I am so glad that I read it. I would describe the author as totally amazing - what a journey she has been on through life and to be strong enough and brave enough to now write this book is truly inspiring. I would strongly encourage everyone to read this story.
Oct 20, 2015 Kirndeep rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, books-2015
Oh My God! Sarbjit has shown great courage to make sure that Surjit got the justice she deserved.

It's disgusting to think that people are ready to dismiss a murderer and save the honour of a name. Sikhism isn't about that but about treating everyone as ana equal. Sarbjit has done an amazing job by bringing Bachan and Sukhdave to the sentence they deserve. It must have been so tough for her but she did it.

This book displays a courageous and brave act.
Lizzie Uhr
Jan 28, 2014 Lizzie Uhr rated it it was amazing
This book brought out so many emotions that I truly did not believe possible. What Sarbjit endured as a woman, mother, sister-in-law, wife and human is truly impossible, yet unfortunately true. This book is amazing, yet I would not use that word to describe one thing in this book except for amazingly brave. The courage she showed by telling her story is more than you could ever hope to display.
Jul 18, 2013 Marg rated it really liked it
A riveting read and an extraordinary story. Possibly the most shocking aspect is that three times the police were notified of what was happening - or had happened, and no action was taken. You would like to think that Sarbjit's story would give strength to others in controlling and unhappy marriages.
Pele Guttenbeil
May 09, 2016 Pele Guttenbeil rated it really liked it
The beginning was good, I learned about Sikh culture and how restrictive life as a young female Sikh is. The body of the story did bring me in as the author started developing the characters. However, I felt the author rushed the revelation and the rest seemed to drag on a bit. Good book but I probably won't read it again.
I would give this a 4.5 if I could. This is a horrific story of appalling murder and awesome courage - couldn't put the book down. It's hard to believe families in a free country can still live and instill traditions of their past on their family. This was an interesting book which made me aware of different cultures within the world. Highly recommend.
Hurriyyah Falak
Mar 21, 2014 Hurriyyah Falak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-ebooks
A quick read , very sad account of honour killing and the threat and fear young women live under most of their lives. The courage it takes to stand up to loved ones is very difficult but a community too ? It is even harder! These events change lives forever.
Oct 13, 2013 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating book. Hard to believe its a biography. The authors internal struggle with religion and right vs. wrong is very powerful. The idea of shame versus honour plagues every decision the author makes.
Jun 22, 2014 Shelley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought his story was fascinating and as a strong Independant woman it's hard to read stories about women who are still dependent and suppressed by their society. I couldn't put this book down
Nancy Croth
Jun 14, 2014 Nancy Croth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The true story of an honour killing in Britain and the sister-in-law who put her life on the line to bring justice to the victim. A true nightmare but a story of courage beyond belief!
Jun 22, 2013 Ranbir rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Very well written and hats off to Sarbjit for her courage and sacrifices
Ririn Marina
Feb 07, 2014 Ririn Marina rated it really liked it
seriously it's not easy when you are sandwiched between revealing the thruth and to uphold family's honour and really need courage and support, and most importantly is to overcome FEAR!!!
An excellent read. Illuminating regarding Sikh culture. I am in awe of the courage of Sarbjit Kaur Athwal and have an increased respect for the persistence of the police.
Keyvan Afshar
May 05, 2017 Keyvan Afshar rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 12, 2014 Ria rated it it was amazing
The harrowing true story of an "honour" killing.
When Sarbjit's family send her to India as a young girl to be "trained" in Indian ways and culture she knew something was going on.
After numerous promises of going home soon she finally gives up hope but then one day her father out of the blue arrives to collect her but then when she hits the UK again things get drastically worse, her family have lined up a procession of suitors one of whom she is expected to marry, no argument.
She is eventually ta
Oct 21, 2013 Jules rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, crime-related
This book follows on from much of my reading this year and it concentrates on the topic of honour killings and family pride.

Kaur Athwal lifts the lid on aspects of her Sikh religion and courageously tells the story of her marrying into a family where her mother and brother in law were accused and subsequently found guilty of planning the murder of their respective daughter in law and wife – Kaur Athwal’s sister in law by marriage – by a hitman in India. Drugged, strangled and her body finally d
Greg Neumann
Jan 19, 2014 Greg Neumann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Did this really happen in a country that has devolved 'policing' to the police for nearly 200 years?

Right from the moment that Sarbjit explains that, whilst she was born in Hounslow, London, UK in 1969 yet, when she started primary school in 1974, she could not speak a world of English(!) - I was shocked at a 'society within a society'.

There are so many things to think about here that you have to read this story. It is simply explained - so the reading is easy - but the overall message is so ha
Pierced Librarian
Sep 27, 2014 Pierced Librarian rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Humans
Recommended to Pierced Librarian by: Me
Shelves: memoir
The story is powerful. It gives a glimpse into the tight and unhealthy (oh yes, I said it) culture of a community so beholden to religious mores that it allowed a family to murder one daughter-in-law, and terrorize another for 7 years.

It is a community that parents shamed their daughter into staying with the murderers because the opinions of the neighbors is more important that the safety of their own daughter and grandchildren.

A community/family in which a daughter-in-law is made to get up the
Dec 19, 2013 Helena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Leta 1998 je Indijka Sarbdžit Kaur Atval prisostvovala na družinskem srečanju, ki ji je za vedno zagrenilo življenje. Vsi pogledi so bili uprti v Sarbdižino taščo, ki je ponosno oznanila, da se morajo znebiti Surdžit, Sarbdižine svakinje. Zaverovana v prepričanje, da mora ohraniti družinsko čast, je starka razkrila načrt umora. S Surdžit naj bi s pretvezo odšli na poroki v Indijo, kjer naj bi se nato zgodil umor. Kmalu po družinskem srečanju je bila Surdžit mrtva, za pripovedovalko zgodbe pa se ...more
Jun 23, 2013 Anna rated it really liked it
I cannot say that I liked this book from an enjoyment point of view because of the nature of the subject matter, but I was interested to read it as I do recall the case being brought to court in the UK.
However it highlights the tragic fact that not all women have access to the wonderful freedoms enjoyed by the majority of Western women, even when born in the West, and how difficult it can be to find assistance within a person,s own cultural environment and within the framework of the laws of the
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