Norah Shariff’s autobiography is likely to cause some turmoil as she takes the reader into a harsh world created by her immediate family; a world filled with obstacles preventing her from gaining precious freedom. Norah is brought up in a living nightmare, created by her father’s abuse and violence, her grandparents’ strict religious precepts, and an oppressive religious system. Although a victim herself, Norah is unyieldingly supportive to the point of being overprotective of her mother whose own hell on earth is filled with daily physical and psychological abuse. Over time, Norah realizes her life is slipping away and her strength of character and audacious nature are the two key elements which will eventually free her from the horrific shackles weighing her down.
The many vicissitudes in Norah’s story possess an empowering impudence which leads to believe that, despite the prevailing fundamentalism in some countries, the new generation of Muslim women will not be silently crushed and humiliated as were its predecessors. Norah’s undaunted strength and hope for a brighter future are characteristics which somehow prevail in those whose destinies are held captive by perpetrators who use religion and sacred scriptures as an excuse to torment their victims at will.
This book recalls some events found in Samia Shariff’s notorious Veil of Fear, published in 2006 by les Éditions JCL, yet Samia Shariff’s daughter, Norah, offers the insightful perspective of a young girl with many qualities. Norah’s Secrets paints a vivid picture of this strong-willed and determined girl who reveals secrets which impact events told in her mother’s book.
Translated from the original French language by Jennifer Makarewicz.