Hello everyone! Today I will be reviewing another superb entry from Daastan’s A War Within competition: Blues by writer and blogger, Masooma Memon. Before we dive into the analysis let’s just appreciate this beautiful book cover. It really does capture the essence of the story.
Depression is an abyss. An abyss with sharp, scintillating canines that can swallow you whole.
She knows about it because she had been devoured by it once. She has come a long way, and at most of the nights she feels proud of herself, but some nights the memory of it is strong enough to pierce her skin and shatter her once again. She was nine when her parents went separate ways.
She thought she could survive that, but what she didn’t expect was that a dark, hollow abyss was waiting to engulf her just up the road.
When I talked to Masooma about her story she told me it was about depression. I admit it made me hesitant to read it because I generally don’t go for sad stories. We all seek happiness in our lives, right? Most people don’t enjoy hanging around depressed people because they don’t want to be dragged down with them. I thought Blues was going to drag me down with it. Boy was I wrong!
I didn’t need to go past the first few lines to fall completely in love with the writing. The author is gifted at spinning sentences that push the limits of your imagination and allow the meaning of those words to penetrate deep inside your mind. I was enchanted and totally sucked into the story from the beginning.
The narrative is in the first person which may put off readers who don’t enjoy this point of view in fiction. The writer has cleverly woven in diary entries which enhance this form of narrative. We follow the protagonist’s journey into the past as she leafs through pages of her old diary. The growth in her character is evident from the stark contrast between her past self and present self. The story starts with her making new beginnings determined to change for the better. Unlike many she is not afraid of her past and decides to face her demons head on. We can see that she has come a long way from days filled with hopelessness, self doubt, denial and loneliness. She reflects on the thoughts of her younger self and tries to spot the mistakes that made her fall so deep into the darkness of depression.
In the past, she felt imprisoned by her broken family. Her entire life was consumed with the grief and rage that comes with being a neglected child. That’s what she thought as she let her anger eat away at her common sense. It was clear whose fault it was but being stuck in her confused thoughts she directed the blame in the wrong direction. She allowed herself to be defined by her circumstances and her actions followed the path to self destruction.
With time she learned to escape from her pain, accepted the ugly truths of the world, appreciated the ones who never gave up on her, was grateful for what she had and most importantly, believed that she was not helpless or worthless. Living in a world that constantly seeks to put you down, it’s hard to believe in your value. Through Blues, the author shows us that there is always an escape from depression. It is usually a place you create yourself by holding fast to pessimism and thinking of problems rather than solutions. When you unearth the power of change that lies within you there is nothing that can stop you from moving forward towards the light. It is you who has to take the first step or else you could be lost in the darkness forever.
Beautifully crafted, Blues is an inspiring tale that serves as a lesson for us all.
Have you read any of the short stories published this year at Meraqissa store?