PLOT: 4.5/5
OVERALL:  4.5/5

It’s not often that we have the opportunity to delve into a literary work hailing from our neighbouring country, Pakistan, shedding light on the prevalent cultural disparities, injustices, and harrowing experiences of emotional and physical abuse, particularly among women.

While the narrative unfolds as a work of fiction, its foundations lie deeply rooted in a comprehensive 2009 study conducted by Human Rights. This study contributed to a documentary released in 2012, which shed light on a staggering reality that between 10% to 20% of women in Pakistan endure various forms of abuse.

The plot of the book

Ayesha is a 27-year-old independent single woman from Multan, Pakistan, where remaining unmarried beyond the age of 25 is deemed taboo by her family. Despite societal pressures, Ayesha has successfully sidestepped numerous arranged marriage proposals and finds fulfilment in her role as an accountant at an NGO dedicated to aiding women experiencing abuse.

Her evenings are happily spent with her college sweetheart until she captures the attention of Raza, a wealthy and influential man from Multan. While Ayesha’s parents eagerly embrace the prospect of this union, Ayesha herself harbours no desire to marry Raza. However, Raza is not the sort of person to take NO for an answer and here it is his reputation and ego at stake. He does something unimaginable that ruins Ayesha’s life and devastates her family.

Following a traumatic ordeal, Ayesha’s family arranges for her to seek solace in the home of a family friend in London. It is there that she encounters Kamil, a man grappling with his own demons and haunted by his past. As they spend time together, they forge an unlikely bond, providing each other with solace and support in navigating their respective traumas.

Yet, their newfound tranquillity is threatened when Ayesha’s past catches up with her in London. Will this past inflict irreparable damage upon her life and those she holds dear, or will Ayesha summon the courage to take a bold step that will change the course of her destiny and the lives of those she loves?

My thoughts and my review

“Someone Like Her” offers a brutally honest depiction of the injustices and abuse rampant in so-called modern society, where individuals with power and wealth continue to perpetrate inhumane acts. Awais Khan adeptly navigates the challenge of portraying such an unjust society through his effortless writing, painting a vivid picture with gritty, bone-chilling details. The fictional characters crafted by Khan feel strikingly authentic, evoking deep empathy from readers.

The dialogue within the narrative is realistic and compelling, contributing to the believability of the story. Ayesha’s character development is particularly noteworthy, as she navigates through her journey with resilience and determination.

Her desires and outspoken nature are entirely justified, prompting readers to question the archaic mindset prevalent in today’s society. Despite enduring immense hardship, Ayesha remains steadfast, confronting societal norms and rebuilding her life repeatedly—an embodiment of unwavering inner strength.

What I appreciated most about this book was its focus not only on women, who often face the bulk of societal issues but also on men who find themselves similarly impacted. It delves into the life of characters like Kamil, a reserved man with trust issues, highlighting how they navigate their challenges with the help of friends and therapy, thereby emphasizing the importance of mental health for all individuals.

The narrative of “Someone Like Her” is incredibly engaging, with the author adeptly weaving layers of intrigue that make it hard to set the book aside. Reading it feels akin to watching a gripping drama unfold, keeping you on the edge of your seat with each new revelation.

It is a rollercoaster of emotions, evoking feelings of anger, rage, empathy, disgust, tenderness, love, and even hope and determination. However, it’s important to note that the book contains several trigger warnings, so readers who are sensitive to certain themes should proceed with caution. Overall, it’s a powerful narrative that seeks to capture the indomitable spirit and unwavering determination of women.

Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of “Someone Like Her” using the link below.