Book Review - Facts of Life by Rehana Shamsi


“love begins life, awareness delivers power, forgiveness brings comfort.” – Facts of Life

Photography by Shruti Bhutani

Facts of Life, by Rehana Shamsi


Book Review
“Writing restores buried integrity and individuality.” – Facts of Life
Facts of Life is a collection of 96 poems written by the poet on every topic under the sun, essentially comprising of grave social issues around women in some South Asian countries. Ms. Shamsi was fortunate to be born in an educated and liberal family, however her peers did not share the same fate as her; these are her poetic reflection on their ignorance and intelligence. Her poems cover the severity of male influence on women in some cultures, lack of compassion in the world, struggles and survival of a migrant, and many other facets of our daily lives.

The 96 poems are categorically divided into 11 subcategories, extending from dominance, gender inequality, migration, health, family, distress of losing someone and even the devastating events of 9/11; thus plenty of subjects to choose from. The cover of the book is neat and sophisticated, keeping the focus on the content, which speaks for itself.

Because the poet was born in India and grew up in Pakistan at the time of the India-Pakistan partition in 1947, she has closely observed the culture of ‘male supremacy’ and its destructive effect on their women. Things have changed over the years, but this gives us an insight into the history of a culture where women lived in silence and ignorance. Women, even today, are victims of injustice and abuse in some parts of the world - Jean Sasson’s stories of women from Middle East, Malala Yousafzai’s anecdote are all testimony. This is her effort to reach out to women of those regions where this kind of sovereignty is practiced even today.

Through her poems she also manages to put light on sensitive issues of girl child, abusive arranged marriages, human trafficking and prostitution, and even child marriages, which is unfortunately not restricted to just one region, but other parts of the world too.
“Disturbed past – my history, comforting present – my victory, cheerful days – my serenity, peaceful nights – my ecstasy, pleasant future – my destiny.” – Facts of Life 

Migration can be planned or involuntary, either way it brings with it bittersweet experiences. The poet moved to Pakistan after partition, and then later to United States; where she witnessed prejudice at various stages, before she was recognized as one of them. Her poem Jewel of Freedom and a few others tell of those occurrences. She beautifully voices some Facts of Life that enrich, and sometimes suffocate, our daily lives. Invest in Beautiful Thoughts and Soldier be at Peace, are two of my favorite poems from this category that is written in a matter-of-fact manner.

Final Thoughts

Poems in Facts of Life together shares the story of Ms. Rehana Shamsi, who witnessed first hand harsh reality of women in Asia and Middle East, struggles of migration, overcoming ailing emotions, bereavements of loved ones, and the support of family through all. It’s not just her story, but also that of all women around the world. Her poems have a depth that comforts you and encourages you to think of the world at large. The book offers a wide selection of themes that are both beautiful and true-to-life. The rich, simplistic and pragmatic poetries make this book a joy to read.

“Dust your sense of humor, And keep it handy within your reach.” – Facts of Life

About The Author

Rehana Shamsi was born in India, and grew up in Pakistan; where she graduated in Political Science and Urdu Literature. She moved to New York, United States in 1995, where she studied Nursing and English Literature. She currently resides in Toronto, Canada. Facts of Life is her first published collection of poems.

Author Rehana Shamsi
Genre Poetry
Pages 190 pages
Publisher Self Published in Canada
Availability Amazon.inAmazon.comLuluBarnes and Nobles (Review copy received)
ISBN (Paperback) 9780995008205
ISBN (eBook) 9780995008212
Rating  (5 Stars)

Until next time Happy Reading!

Love & Peace
Shruti

Comments

  1. Lovely review . I thought you were just reviewing short stories , novels . Another feather in cap of Shruti .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I love reading and reviewing all kinds of books. :)

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  2. Dear Shruti,

    Thank you very much for reviewing my book, ‘Facts of Life: Reflections on Ignorance and Intelligence’ on your blog.

    I find your review thorough and comprehensive. You covered every aspect of the book beautifully. It is an honor for me to received five stars on my book from you. I offer my thanks one more time.

    With warm regards

    Rehana

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Rehana ji.

      Thank you, for voicing emotional issues of women. For capturing iconic events like India-Pakistan partition and 9/11 so beautifully, both have affected the world and us very deeply. Many suffer in silence, some express in writing, but very few can capture the true essence in poetry - you are gifted. And I am grateful to you and Zafar, for sharing your work with me.

      Best Regards,
      Shruti

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  3. Lovely review, again. The quotes are truly enlightening!

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  4. With Rehana's first hand experience, it should be a great read.
    The quote, 'dust your sense of humor...', is wonderful.

    Always love your reviews - detailed and put down beautifully!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Alok for taking time to read my reviews, and always leaving positive encouraging words on them and on other social platforms. Appreciate it! :)

      Rehana ji has managed to beautifully put words to feelings, something that must resonate with all of us.

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