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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
I’ve never been a fan of magic, and when it comes to black magic, well I’ve always figured that’s the domain of fantasy fiction writers and filmmakers…that is, until I read Sneaky Showbiz by Simo Ben. Now I am seriously wondering if the downturns in my life were the result of bad choices, or is it just possible I’ve been the victim of black magic? If I lived in Morocco, I would definitely come to that conclusion! But for readers to fully grasp the extent to which black magic can disrupt lives, you have to read this book that Simo Ben, an entertainment reporter, took seven years to write. What he shares is mind-boggling.
Picture using a corpse’s hand to stir the popular dish of couscous to close a husband’s eyes to a cheating wife. Yes, Moroccans…many of whom are Muslim… believe that works. Or how about adding corpse water to someone’s coffee? Why corpses? Because “Everything that surrounds a corpse is priceless in the world of magic.” That priceless factor affords a sorceress like R’kia a lucrative income. Much of what Simo Ben shares with readers comes from countless hours hiding behind a curtain while he observes R’kia in action, meeting with those desperate for her spells. People seek her services…and pay big money…in hopes of attaining fame and fortune. Jealousy of others’ looks, wealth, and possessions is another prime reason for paying someone like R’kia to cast a spell.
But this is just a fraction of what will keep readers spellbound…pun intended…in Sneaky Showbiz. What is even more astonishing is the hypocrisy of Moroccan society, a factor that repulses both R’kia and Simo Ben. For instance, while virginity is highly prized and demanded of young women by their families, prostitution is rampant! And if anyone thinks the families aren’t aware of what their daughters do at night, think again. With such high poverty, for far too many it’s the only way to eat and pay rent. Then there’s the “fake success” of the many young women in the entertainment business. What younger girls aspire to as they follow these models and actresses on social media is a far cry from reality. Honestly, you just have to read this book to understand why Simo Ben has titled his expose Sneaky Showbiz.
Both the author and R’kia won’t spare your sensibilities or sensitivities when it comes to the language they use. So brace yourself. Ben is a great writer, but the presentation is raw in its honesty. Toward the end of the book. Simo Ben mentions a movie, Much Loved, that portrays the prostitution elements in Moroccan society. As this aspect was almost as incredible to me as black magic, I decided to watch some of that film before writing this review. Phew…eye-popping!