Purple Dandelion [NF/NZ]

Sultana, Farida with Shila Nai

  14 Reviews

At eighteen Farida Sultana enters into an arranged marriage with a fellow Bangladeshi. Thus begins a journey that took her from Bangladesh to Iran, Scotland, Borneo and eventually New Zealand. Subject to domestic violence and traditional cultural and religious expectations, Farida survived, going on to help others in similar circumstances by establishing Shakti, an Asian women's refuge in Auckland and advocating for the plight of many migrant and refugee women.

Subtitled 'a Muslim woman's struggle against violence and oppression', this is a harrowing yet inspirational story. [Larger font]

Comments from Groups

Jaw-dropping revelations. Surprised it didn't create a greater stir when first published. Nelson 002

The content was good but the writing was not engaging. Invercargill 022

Good discussion. Richmond 004

It promoted lively discussion! Overall we were glad that we had read it and we also felt that we learnt quite a lot. Wanganui 002

This book provoked deep and lengthy discussions . Not all members agreed with the style of writing, but everyone agreed it was a subject that we are aware of but don't have a lot of knowledge of. A very brave young woman. Napier 021

There was a wide variation of responses to this with some finding it really interesting and others thinking it was repetitive and at times boring. Owaka 001

While we were interested in the themes of this book, nobody really enjoyed the way the story had been written, or felt connected to Farida. Morrinsville 001



An interesting book. Provoked much discussion.
Everyone enjoyed this book very much. It created a lot of discussion on immigration in N.Z. and immigrant women and their difficulties.
NEWP 016
Could have been better written. We felt it was rather superficial with not a lot of depth. She is doing wonderful work for immigrant women with Shakti though. We totally agree with a previous review by Upper Hutt. Not a book we would recommend, cant believe it took 8 years to write.
ASHB 009
Everyone enjoyed the book. Was well written and informative, and gave us all food for thought.
We didn't have our meeting but most seem to enjoy the story.
UPHU 002
Our group was rather unanimous in its opinion of this book. We would not recommend it as a 'must read'. Although easy to read it was somewhat journalistic in style. The lead character was not admired as a person in spite of her good works. Most felt it was the husband who had the misjudged life, not Farida. A lot of questions remained unanswered at the end.
Enjoyed it, although concerned at the lack of emotion in the account. It brought up some great feminist discussion.
Several members commented that this was a very helpful additional perspective on the cross cultural problem of domestic violence.
We found this book an insight into the thinking and behaviour of Muslim women. Intriguing that her husband was able to settle Farida in New Zealand and leave her supported by the unemployment benefit! We felt that her disagreements with the other women at the Women's Refuge were the result of her attitudes. The positive part of her story was the help she offers to abused women of Muslim faith.
WELL 117
Recommended as a very interesting account of the traditional Bangladeshi Muslim way of life. The mental and physical struggle for Farida breaking that tradition from being totally subservient to her husband, and then her courage in starting up the refuge 'Shakti' for Muslim women in New Zealand, earning her the QSM.
NELS 064
This was a timely read so close to the Chch terrorist Mosque attacks. Most of the group felt they learned a lot from this book, but found the author quite critical towards those that tried to help her.
We were intrigued by the characters in this book. All enjoyed it, although at different levels. Not wonderfully written.
A great insight into the struggle women have in adopting a 'new' culture.
NELS 064
An interesting account of life in New Zealand for a Muslim. At times the group found the book to be droll, but most gained a good insight into a different culture.