(This book was sent to me courtesy of Amberjack Publishing…thank you!)
I Am Yours by Reema Zaman (Amberjack, 2019)
☆☆☆☆☆/ 5 stars
I Am Yours: A Shared Memoir follows Reema Zaman on her journey through the first thirty years of her life. Her journey begins in Bangladesh, but is then sent abroad to Hawaii, on to Thailand, and finally to the continental US. As the reader moves through the book, they are confronted with what it means to be a woman as the writer finds her voice quieted by societal expectations of women time and time again. She recognizes herself as an object of sexual prize in Thailand and the US and as a mere background character in her native country of Bangladesh. Zaman leads the reader through her trials with emotional and sexual abuse at the hands of others, and destructive behaviors bread from these circumstances at the hands of herself.
This, though, is a story of triumph as Zaman comes to find the powerful voice within herself and the courage to share it.
From the first line of this book I was hooked, eager to turn each new page which I found to be filled with both heartbreak and triumph. I found myself tearing up on more than one occasion, filled with amazement that someone could put into words what it feels like to be without them. Zaman poured herself into each piece of this memoir and it shows. Each word is masterfully selected, intentional, and moving. The structure is intelligent: told in four acts, with a guiding word for each chapter.
There is a line from the book that reads: “Language births art, literature, dance, theater, and bedtime stories.” This simple line I found to be a metaphor for what Zaman does in this book: she crafts a narrative that is deeply personal like bedtime stories, but universal like the art language breeds. This is Zaman’s greatest accomplishment: she has made a memoir of herself for others; she has poured out her soul and dedicated it to those who cannot do the same.
This is a book that deserves to be read if only for Zaman’s masterful literary technique, but if you choose to peruse its pages and go on one woman’s journey to find her voice, you will find something far larger and more powerful than you could ever expect.