BOOK REVIEW: Woman at Point Zero
By Nawal El Saadawi
First published in English in 1983.
The new edition was published in 2007.
There’s one review comment from Spare Rib that says. “It reads as if it’s every woman’s life”
I find that to be true, when I read the book I couldn’t put it down.
I felt as if it was a story of my own life.
The events are different but the struggle and the search for identity is similar.
The story draws you in immediately, there’s no sugar coating or running around in circles.
When the protagonist, Firdaus, starts telling her story, you can immediately feel the emotion even though she herself admits to being devoid of all emotion or feeling.
The events of her life have changed and molded her in such a way that she comes across as this warrior who fears no death.
She does not only speak her truth but she speaks the truth that many other women are afraid to utter.
Firdaus has an air of I have had everything and nothing.
She speaks with conviction, you don’t get the sense that her voice quivers or that she cries about all the terrible things that have happened to her.
She is at peace with what she went through.
She had to reach the lowest point in her life (hence the title) in order to find redemption.
The story tells me that you do not find redemption at the top.
I have included so many extracts from the book because there are so many paragraphs that made me touch my chest in awe and wonder and heartbreak.
I could not only feel her pain through the pages but I could also draw on her strength.
Firdaus is one women who experiences the trials and heartaches of millions of women across the world.
I don’t need to say much on this book, it speaks for itself.
I would recommend this book not only to women but to men as well. It opens up your mind to what many people have to go through on a daily basis, even today.
It shows the survival instinct and drive to somehow gain control over one’s own life and makes way for the narrative that even though you don’t have control over the cards that life deals you, you always have a choice in how you play your hand.
Death is also an overwhelming theme throughout the story. The illustration of death in its various forms can be picked up almost in every chapter.
I really loved reading this book and I will probably read it again. You want to get into the mind of Firdaus.
In the end we are all Firdaus.