Book Review – I Want To Destroy Myself – Malika Amar Shaikh

Note: I was given a review copy of this book by @speakingtiger14 Speaking Tiger Publications in lieu of a fair, unbiased review.

“I want to destroy myself” is a deeply personal story of a woman who braved the hailstorms of life. A review. 

There are certain ways to tell a story. There can be a gripping tale of struggle with an unbiased eye or there can be this book. I was disappointed by the long-winding lectures on feminism by the author.

Characters

It is a nonfiction book and we are taken through all important and unimportant people around the political family that the book circles around. Footnotes about the people who are featured in the book are helpful.

The book is mainly about Malika and her abusive husband Namdeo. She marries the man who was set on the path of destruction and then writes poetry about the pathos that befall her. At no point in the book was I able to empathize with her character. It seemed more like a rage-fueled rant against marriage and men.

Plot

The story starts with the author’s father and mother (both communists involved in active politics) and takes you through father’s death and then the marriage of author to the end of all hope. It is a sad story, no doubt but there are things that one simply cannot ignore.

We start with Amar Shaikh and his glorious ideology. And then the author talks about the beautiful furniture in her house – most expensive. Well, it doesn’t strike the author that it is not the most communist way to hoard wealth.

Similarly there is an instance in her life where someone she knows, knows the higher ups in the Reserve Bank of India and guarantees her a job. She has no problems pulling those strings. But then talks about her ideals and how she refused to use her husband’s caste on her registration form. Sounds more like spite and less like greatness to me.

The story simply needs an unbiased eye which is impossible here. It is an autobiography in every sense of the word. And then there are these long essays about male-bashing. She hates her husband because he sleeps around with prostitutes and beats her like a rag doll. But she continues to care for him, have sex with him and then has the audacity to issue a call out to women, to raise themselves up.

Language

Jerry Pinto has lost everything in translation. This book may have retained its earthy Marathi flavour in the hands of a better translator. The “Em and the Big Hoom” hangover is over for me now.

Design

Design is one bright side of this book. The dark strokes create an eerie picture of pain. Compliments are due there.

Overall

Do not read it if you need inspiration. Do not read it if you want to see good writing or poetry. Read the original Marathi version maybe. Read only if you feel like prying into the private life of a political family and judging them silently. Read if you want to share the helplessness of a woman through her diary notes.

1.5 stars out of 5.

Note: I was given a review copy of this book by Speaking Tiger Publications in lieu of a fair, unbiased review.

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