By Susan O'Neill, author, Don't Mean Nothing
I met the author in Manhattan by pure chance and, as I usually do when I meet an author, I bought her book on the spot. I figured I'd read it...I dunno...sometime. I have a busy life and a huge list of books I'm slowly eating my way through, and this would take its place in the back of the line.
The subway back to Brooklyn from Manhattan that night was deadly slow, so I pulled the novel out of my bag and--what the hey--started to read. Just a taste before I hit home, where I'd stick it on the shelf for now and... When I looked up again, it was my stop; I had to scramble to get out before the doors slammed shut.
Three days later, I'd finished this well-written, fascinating interloper. It's an important book, one that places a vital issue squarely on the table, makes it understandable and sympathetic, more than a sad fact of life in a far-away country. It's also a gripping read, hard to turn away from, hard to discount. Or to put on the shelf for later. The characters live and breathe; they are weak, brave, human; they can get under your skin and keep you awake at night.
In My Sisters Made of Light, Jacqueline St. Joan has taken up the mandate that her protagonist's mother gave to her daughter: Teach Them. This she does, to her credit, deftly; she "shows, not tells" the terrible truth: Honor Killings might take place half a world away, but they strike at the heart of woman's position in the human race. When any religion or cultural system is twisted to force subservience, shame and violence upon half its population, Humanity in general can not consider itself whole and healthy. Such horrors as these stain the considerable good in holy books and contort the images of Prophets and God Itself.
Read this book: it's good. And don't just borrow it: buy it, because St. Joan has pledged half her profits to help shelter victims of abuse in Pakistan. It's the least we can do for our sisters. Amazon.com
Read the whole story (click on this link for a web-optimized PDF) Sing Out, Sister. It was published in Pasatiempo, New Mexican's Weekly Magazine of Arts, Entertainment & Culture
THE FIRST OFFICIAL REVIEW: elevatedifference.com