Rebecca Grace's Reviews > Burned Alive: A Survivor of an "Honor Killing" Speaks Out

Burned Alive by Souad
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Jun 13, 10

bookshelves: memoir-abuse, memoir-childhood, memoir-other, non-fiction, feminism
Read in June, 2010

This book was excellent. It is what would be considered a 'tough' read emotionally. If you are reading for pleasure, I don't know if this would be a great choice, but if you are interested in human rights, feminism, crimes against women, international issues, 'honour crimes/killings', or movements on a global level for the rights of women and children, then you will be able to get through this often enraging, deeply saddening story.

Souad's story begins long before her attempted murder, and gives a graphic depiction of life as both a female and child in recent-time Palestine. With brutal, daily beatings from her father, disgusting messages of rape and inequality normalized and engrained, and the witnessing of several murders of her sisters - young and old, Souad is raised to believe that she has two purposes in life and is both willing and eager to achieve them both - save her virginity, be compliant/basically raped on her wedding night - her husband displaying the bloody sheet (and hopefully it is, as to not bleed is a death sentence - these ignorant people, even in recent times, believe that a virgin will always bleed) for the whole town to see and clap and cheer over the morning after, and, of course, give birth to sons - to not, is to disgrace the woman (it is ALWAYS her fault), and shames the family. She is unable to accomplish either of these things before being burned beyond recognition, and left to die.

Her survival, slow healing, and and acclimation to her new life/country/physical appearance, is painfully realistic, yet hopeful, as it is the first true account from a survivor of an honour crime, and may bring awareness and outrage towards what is a horrifically common practice that continues to present day, one that is practiced not only in Palestine, but all over the Middle East, and even parts of Europe. It is shameful that we, as a global community, are not more aware of these issues, and have not done more to prevent/punish these actions.
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