Review: In My Father’s Country by Saima Wahab

May 17, 2012 Crown Books, Memoir, Review 6

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (April 24, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0307884945
  • Source: Publisher

Saima Wahab was just three years old when her father was arrested by the KGB at their home in Kabul, Afghanistan.  This was the last time she would ever see him, this action just the start of Saima’s painful early memories. Caught in the middle of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, Saima’s mother was forced to raise Saima and her five siblings on her own.

When Saima was fifteen it was decided that Saima should go live with an uncles in Portland, OR so that she may receive an education.  Despite having to learn a completely new language Saima was able to graduate high school in just three years. While her education seemed to flourish,  Saima found it difficult to blend into the American culture. She also found it near impossible to blend her Afghan roots and culture with her new life in America.  This caused a great deal of turmoil for her emotionally.

Her hopes and prayers were answered in 2004 when she received a phone call, offering her a job as a translator to assist the troops stationed in Afghanistan.  In a sense her life had come full-circle, returning to the land of her birth, her role to enhance communications with U.S. forces and the local people.

Saima’s journey, from her departure from Afghanistan as a teen to her return as an adult, is truly a remarkable one. As citizens of the United States, the only view we get of this country is what the news stations decide to share with us. We often only get to see the dark and devastating aspects of a war-torn nation. We don’t get to drill down to the grass roots level and see what beauty does exist among on the turmoil.

Saima’s story opened up my eyes to a whole new world, a whole new Afghanistan. I am forever thankful for this glimpse at a nation I admit to being ignorant about. Additionally, the risks she took in order to fulfill her mission were quite high, there were many times she didn’t know whether or not she would come back alive. Saima’s story, her struggles, are empowering.  This, by far, is one of the most memorable memoirs I have ever read, Saima’s strength and dedication proving that so much is possible when one individual has a passion so great that it triumphs adversity. Highly, highly recommended.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me the opportunity to review this book. Please check out the other stops in this tour on the tour web page.


6 Responses to “Review: In My Father’s Country by Saima Wahab”

  1. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread

    I’ve read a few other reviews of this book and they have all been incredible. Honestly, nothing about the title or cover would have drawn me to it! But this is high praise from you. If the books finds itself in my hands (amazing how often this happens – ha!) I will put it right to the top of the pile.

  2. Patti Smith
    Twitter: PattiRSmith

    I felt this same way about the Afghanistan we never get to see or hear about after I read The Kite Runner. I’m putting this one on my list 🙂

  3. Susan

    This sounds like a good one that I had not heard about. Thanks for bringing it up, I will look for it.

  4. Amy
    Twitter: Amestir

    I didn’t know what this book was about but it sounds fascinating. I know very litle about Afghanistan and would like to know more but what I’m really interested in his Saima’s story and what she went through in her life to have a life she can be proud to live. Her life sounds emotional painful, stressful and a struggle from close to the time she lost her father.

    Your review is fantastic and eye-opening. I’m so glad I read it and now to get myself a copy of this memoir :o)