The Book Whisperer (aka Boof)'s Reviews > Fatwa: Living with a Death Threat

Fatwa by Jacky Trevane
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Aug 01, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: biography-memoirs, british-authors, middle-east, non-fiction, read-in-2010, egypt
Read from August 01 to 03, 2010

I found this a really interesting book and certainly one that had me turning those pages; the very nature of the content and the fact it’s a true story is the books forward momentum.

The story begins in 1979 when Jacky goes on holiday to Egypt with her then boyfriend whom she gets separated from when they try to get off a bus in Cairo. Jacky finds herself alone, with a twisted ankle, in a residential area and is picked up by two young Egyptian men who escort her into the nearest appartment where she is welcomed by the family who nurse her until she can walk again. The appartment is small and Jacky can only communicate with the 15 year old daughter who is learning English at school but she is drawn to Omar, one of the older brothers and even though they can’t speak to each other there is clearly a mutual attraction. Over the next two weeks the family take Jacky on outings around Cairo and further afield and Jacky finds herslef falling in love with the family and also with Omar (they both discover that they can just about communicate to each other in French and their friendship blossoms). Before the holiday is over, Omar has not only proposed to Jacky and talked his family but they have also married.

Over the next eight years in Cairo, the once mild mannered and loving Omar changes into a controlling and angry man who beats his wife on an almost weekly basis and makes her life a living hell. The conditions and squalar that her and her children are forced to live in is a world away from the life she knew back home and rather than upset her parents she writes home about the good life that she is living and how happy she is.

The book opens with Jacky and her two children’s attempted escape back to England, from Cario to the Israeli border. There are so many challenges along the way that even though the escape has been long planned down to the minutest detail, we are still routing for her and wondering if she will actually make it. The answer doesn’t come until the end of the book.

Having lived and worked in the Middle East and spent a lot of time in Egypt, books of this nature do interest me. This is one of the better ones, I feel, as it is written in a way that is accessible to all (it sometimes has the feel of a YA book in its narrative, which I actually think is a good thing -allowing it to be read and understood by different audiences).

The book is the story of what happened to Jacky in the early 80′s and it is possible that things have changed since then (with more access to media from across the world) but even so this is a pretty stark warning to think before you act.

Good book. Recommended.
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08/01/2010 page 136
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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Scary!


The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) Very scary! It was a brilliant read though, Jeremy. I couldn't put it down.


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