Mar 12, 2011

Deflowered by Pamela Sinkamba: A Review

"A flower is the brightest part of plant, which makes it
very beautiful. Women, like flowers are very beautiful,
both on the inside and the outside. The inner beauty
is connected to the soul and mind and yields to the
physical well being of a woman.


When a woman is deflowered, she is deprived of what
she values the most; her inner sense of beauty and
self worth. A deflowered woman does not only
undergo pain, but hate, become bitter and lose trust.
The inner image of beauty is totally destroyed.
‘Deflowered’ exposes the motions that women who
have been deflowered go through. It shows that some
cases of defilement take place within the confines of a
home. Some perpetrators are people very close to the
victim."

The words above are part of the foreword in Pamela Sinkamba’s debut novel Deflowered. If I were still sitting on the fence about reading the book, these words along would have thrown me headlong into the story.

Deflowered tells the story of two friends, Lynn and Sali who both suffered sexual abuse as children. For Lynn it was at the hands of her father and later an employer, and Sali was raped by an uncle. Sinkamba is unapologetic in how she describes the emotions both women undergo as they struggle to come to terms with the pain wrought by the abuse and broken trust.

Her use of language is powerful, and it’s difficult to disassociate from the two women. How can the reader not feel sorrow when looking in “the face of a young woman whose dignity was taken away by a man who should have been her greatest protector?”

Abuse of any kind is ugly because it is often about power – the power the perpetrator exerts over his or her victim. And sexual abuse in particular seems to carry a high degree of burden because often times there are little physical manifestations of the crime committed; coupled with the culture of silence that forces victims into the shadows, remaining mute. Sinkamba faces all this head on. She shows the failure of family members to speak up against what they know is happening, and their heart breaking refusal to do nothing.

Ultimately, Lynn and Sali go through the process of healing and forgiveness. The author doesn’t paint a rosy picture where everyone lives happily ever after just because their secrets are out in the open. There is pain, grief but in the end there is LIFE!

My minor quibbles about the book are that sometimes the language seemed a little juvenile with the use of terms like “hanky-panky.” This was irksome until I revisited the book’s description and saw that it is categorized as “young adult fiction.” There are also some silly spelling mistakes that should have been caught by a keen editor such as “I literary ran,” though I could probably chalk that one up as Zedglish (Zambian English). J 

Overall, this was a good read. I would recommend it. Sinkamba shows us that that “yes, once deflowered, there is hope again; because broken flowers can grow again as long as the roots are held firmly in the ground.” It would be nice to see a book like this used in our homes, church groups and schools as a means of breaking down barriers and removing the unnecessary stigma attached to victims of sexual abuse.


Where to buy:


I purchased my copy on the i-Proclaim Bookstore website. I have the eBook version which had some issues with some cut off sentences and paragraph misalignment. I suspect that happened with the conversion into pdf format. But for the price, $11, it wasn’t a deal breaker.

2 comments:

Lovely review. I'll look out for this book, love the concept too.

Thanks Myne. This was an enjoyable read, and writing the review wasn't a hardship to write. The subject matter is intense but necessary in African literature, in my opinion.

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