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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
It is not often that we experience a memoir that is both profound and articulate in narrating episodes in the author’s life. Yasmin Azad’s Stay, Daughter: A Memoir of Muslim Girlhood is a striking account of a Muslim girl’s struggles in her coming of age in Sri Lankan society where patriarchy dominates and the feminine gender assumes the role of subordinate. Here we perceive through the eyes of Ms. Azad as she comes to develop a critical examination of her rightful place and at some point must come to a decision of whether to leave or stay. In its far-reaching social, political, and social developments over the last century, Sri Lanka tries to break societal norms to provide its young women with a better education. The tides of change, however, are riddled with confusion and unrest.
Ms. Azad moved to the United States in her twenties, and this memoir is her recollections of her growing up years in Galle Fort, Sri Lanka. She delivers her narrative with humor and candor in addressing a crucial issue of evolving gender roles in a society that is trying its best to be open to change, yet the reluctance to let go of orthodox practices remains persistent. In this context, Stay Daughter: A Memoir of Muslim Girlhood provides an illustration of the social, cultural, and political processes that shape the status and the progress of women in Sri Lanka. Ms. Azad is carving a name for herself as an important voice for women in the Islamic world. This book is a great way to begin understanding their plight.