Tuesday, April 15, 2014

MEDUSA

MEDUSA           
By S. D. Hines
Romance and action under new personas in Greek Mythology.

I was ten years old when I read my first book of Greek mythology and it fascinated me.  Later movies ran like “Jason and the Golden Fleece.”  Thus these mythological tales cemented the personalities and actions of these Greek gods.
The author has taken the names of a few of these characters such as Medusa, Perseus, Andromeda, Posiden, Himoncles and the Amazonians and created an entirely new fairy tale of romance in a sci-fi action world.  The author brought new emotions to these characters, making them more real than the original myths portrayed them.

This tale would be intriguing to the YA genre and even younger teenagers.  It may also appeal to older adults who still like to relax in this other world.  I recommend it to readers who enjoy books in these categories.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Call Me Leila

CALL ME LEILA
By N. G. Hanna
Three generations of poor women in Egypt

This is a character study of three generations of women from the same heritage, which is not a page turner but definitely has its own interesting aspects.  In El-Mansoura, Egypt in 1950, Saadeya, a young mother of five children, finally bears a baby girl, Meshmesha, and her husband leaves her in disgust that it is another girl.  Saadeya does the best she can, but she is sick and worsening, finally dying.  Meshmesha’s father remarries a woman who can’t stand his daughter and when she is nine years old, the step-mother convinces the father to hire her out and he will receive her wages.  He does this and the little girl works hard from dawn til night.  She learns of her father’s death when they say they no longer need her and turn her out.  Temporarily, she later is turned over to an older woman, Um George, where as a teenager, she meets and marries a poor man, Attia. 
Eventually Attia sneaks into France because work pays better, but his wife hears nothing from him.  In the meantime her has hired her out as a maid in a wealthy household, where the matron, Nabila,  has unusual green eyes, a hereditary trait, which runs through that family.  She also has a teenage son who is a student in medical school and Meshmesha innocently enjoys sex with him and becomes pregnant.  When her baby girl is born, she has these peculiar green eyes, is named Galeila and for a time the wealthy grandmother believes her son is the father, although Meshmesha does not state this.  Eventually Attia returns, almost kills his wife when he sees her new daughter.  The crux of the story is that local older women convince Galeila to marry so she will be supported, and for twenty-five years, she is miserable with her husband and continually seeks to find her father although she knows little about him.  The story goes from the recent Egyptian uprising when she runs away from her husband and changes her name to Leila and her continual seeking of her family.  The ending leaves a couple of loose ends, but nothing to detract from the story. 
It is an unusual story, but gives great insight to the lives of poor women in Egypt after WWII.  I enjoyed it because of its cultural and historical background.