BIOGRAPHY

Besharam: On Love and Other Bad Behaviors

Chicago Review. Apr. 2021. 208p. ISBN 9781641605076. pap. $16.99. MEMOIR
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Journalist and writer Elias is a voice for women who couldn’t speak out at the height of the Me Too movement. Originally published in India, Besharam (meaning “shameless” in Hindi) is a collection of essays about feminism in India; Elias’s perspective will be valuable to women everywhere. She discusses topics such as dating, sexual violence, disordered eating, and the complexities of family living, both within and outside India. Her stories range from heartwarming celebrations of culture to demands for political change. No matter what feeling each essay inspires, readers are sure to be moved. The essays are both relatable and enlightening, and despite the heavy topics, the writing is engaging throughout. Elias uses a variety of formats to tell different stories, which adds to the personality of each individual essay, whether she is musing on pop culture, detailing how her parents’ faith shaped her own beliefs, or advising women on how to say no. Footnotes at the end of the book offer context on cited sources and explain some of Elias’s definitions and witty anecdotes.
VERDICT A phenomenal debut, ideal for readers interested in women’s issues and women’s voices.
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