Admittedly, I found the cover image
for this book rather fascinating
in its simplicity.
My initial thoughts upon seeing it were
that it certainly did depict the
isolation any "wife" might feel if she
was NOT "obedient" in a
especially in more traditional
Of course, as we learn from reading
this book, it can also depict
that same 'isolation' for any woman
(or partner) in any marriage.
other co-hosting bloggers currently on hiatus!
She very graciously provided free copies to each of us in exchange for our honest reviews.
I find it rather interesting that we have read two books
in sequence dealing with marriages set within Islam.
However, in my mind, there was little commonality between this book
and The Happy Marriage by Tahar Ben Jelloun.
I particularly appreciate the fact that The Disobedient Wife seemed to be very practical
and dealt with the realities of daily life between married partners.
This was a book that struck me as 'pragmatic' and I could appreciate that.
Though both books did deal with the reality of a male expecting his female spouse
to become/be an "obedient" and subservient person in their relationship,
even when subjected to abuse.
As Harriet states,
"Tajikistan is a cruel place for a young woman who marries the wrong man." (198)
The thought that kept running through my mind as I finished reading this book was:
While physical abuse/violence is definitely the most dangerous to a person's survival,
other forms of "abuse" can definitely be just as debilitating in many ways.
Nargis has worked hard and saved money to purchase a store in their mahalla, though the irresponsible lazy men in her family almost ruin that for her within the first couple of months! I purchase as much as I can through Fair Trade resources, since I can be assured the artisans (both in the U.S. and other countries) are paid fair market prices for their goods and services. This is how I obtain the tea I drink every day. It is through such organizations that even females can become economically successful, and experience proves that when females have control of a family's finances that money is typically used as it should be--to care for, feed, and educate the children. This opposed to the majority of males who will simply party away whatever money they make, to the detriment of their families, leaving little to none for necessities.
Milisec-Stanley did a good job of depicting the resulting political unrest of economic decline; once men are unable to find work to support themselves and their families, they can become easy recruits for terrorist organizations and/or other revolutionary and/or criminal institutions and groups. For example, when Jamshed walked into the bar and purposefully sat down to speak with Pouloud, he already knew Pouloud had been working in Russia, but had not yet returned. I'm sure these men were all targeted as those who were unable to find legitimate work in Tajikistan, so they were all the more likely to jump at the chance to carry out illegal activities to earn money. Of course, for me, I am cynical enough to believe that any time one group of people is given power over others (i.e. Muslim males over females) they are more likely to become lazy in their tyranny, though Milisec-Stanley made it clear that when there are no possibilities for work, a society becomes rife with dissatisfied citizens. Additionally, that pushes those who will work toward more nefarious and even illegal activities. As Henri states, "cotton and aluminum prices have fallen through the floor, so heroin is the main income earner." It is difficult to redirect people from criminal activities to make money when there is no other viable option available. And honestly, when Pouloud recited the daily routine of his life while working in a Russian factory, I could definitely understand why he wouldn't wish to return. It was horrid, virtually unbearable. Though that was the only bit of sympathy that man received from me! However, he was also a product of this specific time and place, to a degree. As a Muslim male he had total control and power (so he thought) over his "wife," and certainly no one would dispute that, not even his own parents! I kept thinking as I read this, that I don't believe any of my three sons would ever abuse their partners or children, at least they'd better not, 'cause they'd better hope it was the police or someone else who got to them first...and not their mother! I would have little mercy on them for such reprehensible behavior!