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Reviewed by Jennifer Ibiam for Readers' Favorite
Ranya was a British-Bangladeshi who endured hell with her parents. She moved to her brother’s home in London, and life wasn’t any better. Ranya lived each day by rules that would break the strongest person. She had just started the first year of her academic degree when her brother arranged a marriage for her. Ranya wanted to escape her brother’s and sister-in-law’s clutches, so she went along with the plan. If only Ranya knew it was a case of jumping from the frying pan into the fire. With five wicked sisters-in-law, a horrible mother-in-law, and a doormat husband, Ranya would become the maid of the house. Unfortunately, there were no pleasing these people. Ranya was alone. Will she ever grow a backbone or just succumb to their cruelty? Find out in Salt and Pepper by Maria Akhanji.
Marriage is good when seasoned with all the right things, as salt and pepper season our meals. However, both spices are deadly when handled wrongly. Hence, Salt and Pepper by Maria Akhanji is a perfect title. This novel delved into many issues, from religion to culture, misogyny, patriarchy, female subjugation, and more. Salt and Pepper is a story that made me want to pull my hair out because it evoked a cocktail of emotions ranging from anger to frustration and defeat. Women are subject to cultures and man’s biased interpretation of religion so they lose themselves. When does she say it’s enough? When she’s in a body bag or maimed for life? I felt suffocated by all the rules, religious hypocrisy, and blatant disregard of other humans. It hurt even more to see women champion patriarchy by the men instead of uplifting each other. This novel also showed a wide gap between being religious and being godly. I’m grateful to Maria for precisely capturing the plight of many women worldwide. I hope more women find liberation.