L. A. Sherman’s first novel, “Bengali Girls Don’t,” is a true and heart-wrenching tale of culture, conflict and a spirited young girl who must grow up in the midst of strict Muslim tradition and find her way to a freedom that is denied all woman.
In the early 1970’s, Luky is born in the war torn country of Bangladesh. Even as a young child her spirit is rebellious and she dreams of being free, unteathered by her family and the beliefs that woman are meant to be subservient, passive and home-bound with one goal: to serve the men in their lives and bear children.
Moving to London with her family, Luky attends school and emulates her friends who do not have dark skin. Being Begali and Muslim is a heavy cross to bear for a young girl who wants nothing but freedom, a career and a voice. Her defiance of parental and social rules bring about a desperate decision on the part of her parents. To save the family from shame and ruination, their only choice is to send Luky back to Bangladesh to marry and fulfill her duties as a wife and mother.
With some trickery Luky is sent back to Bangladesh, under the false impression that it is just a visit to an ailing uncle. But as time passes, Luky realizes there is a sinister motive behind her return. She is trapped in her worst nightmare, an arranged marriage to a man as old as her father for the soul purposes of convenience, monetary gain, and the ultimate muting of her voice.
Although fearing for her life, Luky does not lose her resiliency or hope. As luck would have it, a legal mistake frees her from her husband and takes her to America. Her early years are filled with strife, much like the country she came from, but her determination to fight keeps her spirit alive. Luky lives her dream, and shows us through her brave story that all woman, despite there cultural background, need not be silenced.
Reviewed by Peggy La Vake for IndieReader