Saturday, April 10, 2010
AN AMERICAN GIRL IN A MUSLIM LAND
NICE REVIEW OF "THE PUNJABI'S WIFE by Lara Lyons FROM ALL THINGS THAT MATTER PRESS
Our upbringing and early experiences
shape us into the people we are and guide the choices we make in our lives. The statement is true for both of the primary subjects in The Punjabi’s Wife. The book is a true story told by a young college student from the Midwest who in the 1960s met, fell in love with and married an older Pakistani man and moved with him to his country where she lived for two years as a traditional Muslim wife.
With vivid description and compelling re-enactments, author Lara Lyons transports the reader to another part of the world and provides a window into the culture and religion that are at the very foundation of ancient and modern Middle Eastern attitudes toward woman, children and Americans.
When Lara met her husband to be, she was a curious and sheltered young woman seeking to see and know and learn more about the world. Her desire for experience and adventure led her into a marriage to a man she hardly knew and a life in a culture she did not understand, only to find her husband was a controlling and calculating man who married her to acquire U.S. citizenship with little regard for her feelings or well being. The story is startling, sad, striking, and framed with historic and religious explanations that provide context for the events explained.
28 | The Brfioomfielder™ | July 2009
After returning to the United States with her husband and giving birth to his twin daughters, Lara eventually left him, taking their children and turning her back on his culture, religion and oppression. She would not raise her daughters in an environment where women and children were viewed as no more than possessions. A desire to caution other American girls from being lured into similar relationships fueled Lara to write her story years later.
Though Lara, did not keep a journal of the marriage, her descriptions of the country and occurrences are as clear as if they happened yesterday, “It is hard to forget. It is like being in a Technicolor movie. It is so beautiful and so colorful and just different than America or England or any other place. It does not leave your mind easily,” she recalled.
Just like the images of the country, the thumbprint of the oppressive society remains etched in her mind. After decades of reflection and study she does have some understanding. “To him, life in Pakistan was normal. The treatment of women and the structure of the household were normal to him. It showed me a world totally different than I had ever seen,” she said. “Through years of thinking and analyzing I have come to some understanding and resolution.”
In retrospect, though she values the experience, “I would not go back to a Muslim country ever,” said Lara. “In the past 40 years, that part of the world has changed. Things are very different and extremely dangerous, but the social structures remain the same. Women and children are viewed as no more than property.”
Her story provides some insight into world events of recent years and what motivates and drives men from this part of the world to do things that many of us cannot begin to fathom. “How can boys and men learn caring and love when they do not see it in the marriages of their own parents?” she asked explaining that who these men are is deeply seeded in their religion, culture and history and would take hundreds of years to change. “Things are not getting better there,” she added.
The Punjabi’s Wife is the adventure story of a young woman who had the opportunity to live as an American inside the Pakistani culture and gain insight into the belief systems that drive ancient attitudes toward women and other people in general that still stand today.
Today Lara Lyons works for a local hospital as a fundraiser. Her book is available on Amazon.com. For more information visit www.Lara-Lyons.com.