Fighting For A Future

Trapped Behind The Border

Non-Fiction - Autobiography
252 Pages
Reviewed on 10/06/2021
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Author Biography

Shabnam's memoir begins at her birth and takes the reader on a journey of childhood in Iran under the freedom of the Shah, his expulsion, the Islamic Republic Revolution in 1979. Just days after the revolution, the ruling government changed from the western influence of the Shah of Iran to an extreme, religious, Muslim-controlled government.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Fighting For a Future: Trapped Behind the Border by Shabnam Ighani is the courageous story of a woman as she works toward a better future for herself and her little sons. Shabnam was living a happy life in Iran when her world came crashing down. Things changed dramatically when Iran was revolutionized to become the Islamic Republic in the year 1979. Being of the Bahá'i faith, Shabnam and her two young sons were discriminated against and avoided. With no opportunities now available to her, Shabnam knew she needs to get out of there before she was fully embroiled in this misery. She grabbed her sons, packed her bags with enough essentials that she could carry, and started her journey to freedom. However, the journey ahead was not easy. Regardless of how optimistic Shabnam was, she knew she would have her work cut out for her before she and her little boys were free at last.

Author Shabnam Ighani had a terrible life before she did something about it. I couldn’t imagine the harsh living conditions she had to endure just because of her religious beliefs. Her drive to give a better life to her sons and protect them from discrimination was admirable. Shabnam’s journey on foot to the Turkish border was terrifying. Each detail was harrowing and heart-stopping for me. The descriptions and the narrative made the story feel real, and I guess that was what Shabnam Ighani wanted to achieve. Her story was truly inspirational and encouraging. Getting to Australia was hard, but Shabnam never lost hope, and that was what kept her going. Truly inspirational and encouraging!

Grant Leishman

Fighting For A Future: Trapped Behind the Border by Shabnam Ighani is a powerful and moving autobiography of one young woman and her two little boys’ frantic efforts to escape Iran after the Islamic Revolution and build a new life elsewhere. Shabnam Ighani was a typical, fun-loving girl growing up in a middle-class background in the country she loved, Iran. Everything changed though for Ighani when the Islamic forces took over the country in 1979. Suddenly her family’s faith, Bahá’í, was not acceptable to the new Islamic government. They staunchly resisted pressure to renounce their faith and become Muslim, which saw them stripped of many of their basic human rights and struggling to keep the family going. For Shabnam, it meant her long-held dream of attending university and studying medicine was gone forever. Married at a young age to her first cousin, she soon discovered his character was far from what she had imagined, being irresponsible and immature. Trying desperately to make her failing marriage work and after the birth of two sons, she and her husband attempted the dangerous and arduous overland journey to Turkey, in the hands of people-smugglers, to escape the oppression and build a new life in another country. Returned to Iran and facing prison, Shabnam must make some tough decisions about what her future holds.

Fighting For A Future: Trapped Behind the Border is an inspirational story of what can be achieved in life with the right mindset and a positive outlook. Shabnam Ighani is just an everyday young woman, she could be you or me, trapped in a bad situation and looking for a way out. What I particularly loved about this story is that the author never once glossed over the difficulties she faced, the fears that beset her at night, and the crippling feelings of helplessness she frequently succumbed to. This is a story of personal heroism and personal triumph, warts and all. One can only marvel at the depths of courage that she had to find within herself and within her powerful faith, as she pushed on from one traumatic experience to the next. I enjoyed immensely the author’s ten rules for life that she espoused at the end of the narrative. As a true believer in the power of the mind and thought, it resonated deeply with me and I felt I could be reading the collective wisdom of Byrne, Canfield, Vitale, et al. That Ighani came through these trials better, stronger, and most importantly happier is a testament to her ten rules and as tenets to live by, you could do far worse than to follow them. This was a fantastic and insightful read that I flew through in just one sitting. For an author whose English was non-existent when she left Iran, this alone is a testament to her enduring perseverance and courage. I can highly recommend this book.

Foluso Falaye

Shabnam Ighani grew up happy and free in Iran before the revolution of the Islamic Republic in 1979, which led her to an entirely different reality—one where she was trapped in her own country, discriminated against for her religion, and restricted from studying at the university, as well as participating in some other important activities. Things went further downhill when Shabnam agreed to a loveless marriage as it was filled with trauma and pain. With two sons and a determination to experience true freedom, Shabnam endeavors to escape, risking her life, jail, and shame. Fighting For A Future depicts a mother's poignant and inspiring story about escaping from her toxic marriage and the discrimination in her country to discover a happier, freer life for her family and herself.

What a story! It was tough to picture two children, one as little as five, running and lying down continuously to escape oppression. I'm teary-eyed just thinking about it. Shabnam Ighani describes the events exceptionally well: her book got my full attention, and the brilliant similes—including the statement about how a wounded woman's screams sounded like a horror movie—made it more real. I found the ten rules that helped Shabnam find success and happiness quite useful. Additionally, Fighting For A Future contains historical and cultural information about Iran after World War 2 and several beautiful, encouraging themes: resilience, courage, following one's dreams, family, fighting depression, education, and nursing. I would give Fighting For A Future an award if I could. It's a powerful story that everyone should read to understand why tolerance and peaceful coexistence are extremely important.

Ruffina Oserio

Harrowing, deeply affecting, and surprisingly inspiring, Fighting For a Future: Trapped Behind the Border by Shabnam Ighani relates the author’s journey as she flees Iran and her husband to search for a better future for herself and her two children. Born and raised in the colorful city of Babol, a tourist hub in the country, her beautiful and idyllic life is destroyed after the revolution of the Islamic Republic in 1979. She is persecuted for her faith and discriminated against as a woman. Trapped in an unhappy marriage, she makes the decision to fight for her freedom. This memoir follows her journey with her two children toward Australia and the challenges she faces in her struggle to become an independent and successful woman.

The book opens with a gorgeous description of the locales in which the author grew up, the beauty of life before things turned rough, and moves on quickly to present the author’s predicament in life and in living in her home country. The book describes, with vividness, the effects of the revolution on religious liberties and the rights of women. Shabnam Ighani provides a survival guide for women in her inimitable style and shares ten self-made rules that can help women overcome obstacles and create a life they want for themselves. One of the fascinating things about this book is how the author discusses her journey toward overcoming depression. Fighting For a Future: Trapped Behind the Border is told in a friendly tone and in crisp and enticing prose; the book is sprinkled with nuggets of wisdom and insights that have shaped the author’s life. It is highly recommended for fans of books with strong themes for women. Psychologically impacting and emotionally rich, this memoir inspires readers and compels them to rethink women’s rights.

Divine Zape

Fighting For a Future: Trapped Behind the Border by Shabnam Ighani is at times heart-wrenching and at times hopeful, the story of one woman’s struggle for freedom and to build a future for herself and her children. In this memoir, Shabnam Ighani takes readers on her journey, escaping an unhappy marriage in Iran to find greener pastures and a future for herself and her two children in Australia. She captures the beauty of her homeland, where she was born and bred, a place that drew tourists, and how the revolution changed it into a symbol of oppression and abuse. We encounter a woman whose rights are trampled upon for just being a woman and whose faith is used against her. This book describes her journey to freedom, marked by numerous challenges, grit, and resilience.

This is a book that many immigrants and readers who enjoy themes of women's rights and emancipation will adore. The author describes an experience that captivates readers and pulls them into her world. The setting is in Iran and Australia and the author writes about her journey, the challenges she faced, and what made her succeed with intelligence, wit, and style. As one reads this book, one is gripped by Shabnam Ighani’s sense of self and her desire for freedom. She describes a social setting that reflects the realities in Iran and what life meant, and might still mean, for many women. Readers will also discover her ten self-made rules to cope and thrive and beat depression. Fighting For a Future: Trapped Behind the Border presents a quest, a tale of courage in the midst of the vicissitudes of life, and the grit that led one woman to conquer her future. It is engrossing, replete with life lessons, and brimming with wisdom.