September 19th, 2011
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A keyhole peep into a parallel universe

Book Review/ Niranjalli Varma

Ossama bin laden“Osama’s silence grew annoying. I wanted him to say something, to confide that he was going to approach our parents about our engagement. But Osama remained stubbornly proper! I remember staring up into his kindly eyes, tartly thinking to myself that my cousin was shyer than a “virgin under the veil.”

Najwa Bin Laden, Osama’s 1st wife and cousin, and Omar their son gingerly lift the veil off his face only to let us peer into the eyes of Ossama Bin Laden for a fleeting moment.

Transposing us into the bodies of Najwa and Omar we see their world through their eyes as Jean Sasson, who in her book “Growing up Bin Laden” balances the story as it oscillates between the narration of an unquestioning, devout, neutral wife who adored her husband and a rebel son who dared to refuse to adorn the title of next in command reserved for him.

It is a fascinating account of how Osama a compassionate, soft spoken yet obdurate boy becomes a name to be feared and though sharing the same genes raised in the world of violence his son Omar yearns for nothing but peace. This intriguing book is a key to a well hidden secretive window, which opens up astonishing and fascinating facets that leaves us in a deep contemplative state of mind, questioning our limited knowledge of the hues of cultures and lives around us.

By dispelling myths, we are humbled by the fact that the world knew so little of Osama, his family and life though he was the most dreaded terrorist of our times. Thus the author arranges through this gripping tale a clandestine meeting of the two worlds- that of the reader and the narrator.

The psychological portrait of the world’s most wanted man is all the more enticing, for it’s a tale told by two people who apparently once revered him. The narration is simple and lucid, creating a feel of listening to some far-fetched Arab tale, divulged by the survivors of a hard ordeal, recollecting with nostalgia the events of their life over a cup of tea in our bedroom. It may not be an intellectually taxing read but it surely is emotionally innervating. With no reading between the lines we gradually seep in the experience of another world.

As we turn the pages and prod deeper into his cul-de- sac of deep dark thoughts, the more baffled we are by this man who is hard to fathom. Jean Sasson provides us with a compelling, powerful story- an extraordinary view of the personal side of a man hated by so many yet loved and feared by his family.


Name of the book: Growing up Bin Laden

Author: Jean Sasson, Najwa Bin Laden, Ommar bin laden

Category: Biographical

Pages: 340 pages



26 Responses to “ A keyhole peep into a parallel universe ”

  1. Athulya

    Totally loving the language or should I say the tone you’ve used to write the review. :)

  2. jayanthi kp

    Caption captures the reader to peep further more… the other side of the most feared persona. You have gone to the matter thoroughly and have given the reader an opportunity pining to read the book…

  3. aadithya

    After reading this review …. now i crave to read the book….

  4. Adithi Shastry

    The Review of the book is well written. It has the quality of language and depth required for the review of a book. I must say, it is indeed difficult to write this kind of language that is refined as it takes a great deal to get the essence of the book and the reviewer’s gift using language in a distinct manner. Sometimes, the review becomes a writing in itself which is quite dangerous as it steals away the work of the author of the book. Therefore, this review has a good flow of thought. It is worded well.

  5. jyothi

    An excellent review with a wonderful play of words!!!

  6. Abrar

    Nice review… Short, crisp and appealing..

  7. smita

    U really are good at this. I mean we read so much about this man’s terrorism that we really forget that he may be a loving husband and father too. That besides being a wanted terrorist he had other roles to play too. It would be good to know him through some one other than the US. The US construct of him is the only prominent image in everyones mind. At least ur review makes me want to read this book. Your use of language is very concise and tells a lot in short. In short a v. good review.

  8. jabir

    nice…valare arthavathaya niroopanam….Ezhuthavette, niroopanamavatte adu hrdayathod samvadikkanam ,u did exclnt in that…. kurachu varigalil ninn kure arinjadinde sampthrpthi…..

  9. shyni

    Fantastic review…. Excellent use of Language

  10. admin

    thank you so much shyni…..

  11. suma

    well written review!

  12. admin

    Thank you Suma Komath.

  13. vandana

    good writing. made me want to read the book

  14. admin

    Thank you Vandana…

  15. dinakaran kombilath

    hai thank u neranjalli ur review is nice one
    dinakaran kombilath
    chief reporter

  16. admin

    thank you so much sir…. i am happy to know that you appreciate the writing….

  17. uma

    Fantastic.Crisp and comprehensive.Really liked your title-interesting and in tune with the times.Read more and review more.

  18. P.V. Shamej

    Honestly Neeranjali Varma’s review finds very appealing and readers like me look forward good reviews in this way in the upcoming editions.

  19. admin

    Thank you Shamej…

  20. admin

    Thank you so much Uma….

  21. Jean Sasson

    Hi! This is Jean Sasson. I was happy to see this review, which is told very precisely and clearly. I’m so pleased that readers are discovering the value of this book. Honestly, like most people on this earth, I had never given a lot of thought to Osama’s private life, but after getting to know his wife and beloved son Omar, I had a new appreciation for the family. I’ve never met nicer people than Osama’s family — truly lovely. I’m so happy that I could play a part in getting their story out to the world. Thank you all and happy reading!

  22. admin

    Dear Jean,
    Its such a pleasant surprise and honour to have the author itself respond to this review … thank you so much for reading and responding……

  23. Harindranath Ravunny

    Your critical analysis, evaluation on the quality, meaning and significance of this book was indeed interesting… …

  24. Kalyani

    A good caption that catches ones attention to read a good review that is captures what the book is about with brevity.

  25. lakshman varma

    well written review, as good as having read it !

  26. Boopendranath

    An excellent and enticing review!


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