A review by leahsbooks
Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

informative inspiring reflective medium-paced


I listened to the audiobook version of this, and the fact that it was narrated by the author made it even more powerful. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an incredibly strong and admirable woman.

She shares the most painful and difficult parts of her life, without flinching. Looking back on her life with the knowledge she had gained later on, the author is able to view the things she was told, her beliefs, her actions, and her experiences from a different point of view, while still accepting them for what they were - the things that made her who she is. 

After experiencing abuse, genital mutilation, war, political instability, a stifling of her innate ability to question and learn as a result of faith-based education, and multiple crises of faith, Ayaan ended up fleeing a forced marriage and moving to Holland as a refugee. While there, she experienced an awakening. She was allowed to learn, to express herself freely for the first time, to say no, and to be seen as a person with rights, who was deserving of respect. She became able to live on her own, without being forced to rely on a man. I was amazed at how motivated she was to turn things around for herself, and to make changes that so many around her didn't. 

Even more, she became intrigued by why so many of her fellow Muslim refugees were not progressing in Dutch culture, preferring to stay stuck, and seeming satisfied with that, while simultaneously blaming racism. So she did something about it. She studied political science, even after being told that she wouldn't succeed, and made sure that she succeeded. Eventually, she became involved in politics, and made positive changes. In doing so, she wasn't afraid to speak her mind, but her views were controversial, and carried consequences. Not just for her, but for others as well. However, she never stopped speaking up for the causes that she believed in - women's rights, and the importance of integrating refugees rather than letting them isolate and have zealots spread harmful views. 

I normally don't enjoy memoirs, but hers felt like such an absorbing story that I couldn't stop listening. I look forward to reading more of her work. Ayaan is an incredibly smart woman who has the power to make changes for future generations. I hope to see her succeed. 

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