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Book Review -The Children Of Shahida

Judi ( Simran ) Silva

Book Review - The Children of Shahida
By Judi (Simran) Silva

The Children of Shahida is three stories in one, told through the eyes of three men each from a different generation - Rashid (the grandfather), Bashir (the son) and Tyeb (the grandson). As one journeys through each, the feelings and point of views on matters change considerably, from a time when family meant everything, to an era where it becomes a victim to a throw away society and then to an age where various types of family structures exist side by side. What is it that causes a change in values and viewpoints from one generation to the next? The difference one finds in The Children of Shahida is sobering on this matter.

Rashid in his advanced years (72) reminisces about a time and people long gone, but whose memories are as vivid as if the events occurred only yesterday. He especially remembers listening to the stories of his nani and wishing there was someone there to listen to his. Beginning with his life as a child and weaving his way through to the birth of his son is an amazing experience. Cherishing every moment with his son as he grows and the adventures they take together is heartwarming to read. His life story is my favorite of the three.

Bashir, enjoying life with his father, comes to a crossroad where he must etch out his own destiny. Does choosing to immigrate to the US fulfill his needs and desires? Knowing that life does not read as a Bollywood script, plans and dreams can easily be dashed once the effects of culture shock and a whirlwind of events begin to take place. Decisions are made, with or without regrets, yet they will not only affect him but will also change the life of his son Tyeb forever. One is torn on how to feel about the road Bashir chooses to follow.

Tyeb's circumstances are a far cry from that of his father and grandfather. Restless and isolated in the US with his mother and the trials she must endure because of a decision she makes, regardless of the consequences. Will he find his soul mate somewhere in his travels across the miles, and will she remain with him if he does in fact find her? It will be interesting to see whether the author will choose to write a sequel based on the ending of this tale.

The common denominators here are the impact religion and immigration has on all three generations. The issue of being a Christian family with a Muslim name evokes trials and stereotypical assumptions that plague each of them, although how they handle such may be different.

The Children of Shahida is a well-written coming-of-age story, which encompasses not only daily life in India and the US, but the crucial events that transform all those involved in it. All of the reader's senses are awakened by the colorful descriptions of foods, places, people, etc. Understanding the differences and similarities between the generations makes for a thought provoking as well as an emotionally touching read.

The author accomplishes what he sets out to do, relate these personal journeys, social circumstances and life-space with relish. After penning the words of this novel, he concludes, "the world is a small yet incredibly complex place. That, which connects us, often divides us as well."

You can purchase The Children of Shahida via the publisher's Website:

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