The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

STOLEN LIVES: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail By Malika Oufkir, Michele Fitoussi

Publisher:  Miramax
Release Date:  2002
Pages:  304
Genre: Biography
Reviewed By WC

About the Book: 
A gripping memoir that reads like a political thriller--the story of Malika Oufkir's turbulent and remarkable life. Born in 1953, Malika Oufkir was the eldest daughter of General Oufkir, the King of Morocco's closest aide. Adopted by the king at the age of five, Malika spent most of her childhood and adolescence in the seclusion of the court harem, one of the most eligible heiresses in the kingdom, surrounded by luxury and extraordinary privilege.
Then, on August 16, 1972, her father was arrested and executed after an attempt to assassinate the king. Malika, her five younger brothers and sisters. and her mother were immediately imprisoned in a desert penal colony. After fifteen years, the last ten of which they spent locked up in solitary cells, the Oufkir children managed to dig a tunnel with their bare hands and make an audacious escape. Recaptured after five days, Malika was finally able to leave Morocco and begin a new life in exile in 1996.
A heartrending account in the face of extreme deprivation and the courage with which one family faced its fate, Stolen Lives is an unforgettable story of one woman's journey to freedom.


WC's Review:  Malika Oufkir is a changed woman. Malika will never again be the vibrant, outgoing young lady she was as a nineteen year old beauty in 1972 in the beautifully serene desert country of Morocco. Twenty years in seclusion with the sole mission of surviving changed her forever.

The adopted daughter of the King of Moroco's closest aide, General Oufkir, young Mafkir revels in the luxury of privilege in the court harem. Circumstances change when her beloved father is executed for managing an attempt to assassinate the King. Her family is subsequently thrown into the prisons at Tamattacht and Bir-Jdid.

Extreme starvation and deprivation envelope her and her family, eviscerating the desire to continue to struggle on. But survive they do, largely through the determined efforts of our heroine to see her mother and her sisters and brothers experience the outside world again.

Creative perserverance and faith enable Malika to conquer the quiet desperation of prison life. Brief glimpses of her mother, her sisters, and her two brothers, keep the minute flicker of hope for the Oufkir family alive.

"In prison,' the author writes, "hatred helped me to survive." Years later, Malika realizes she still has a long way to go to overcome her deep resentment of her stolen youth.

Worthy of the effort, this biography captures the inner soul of survivors.  4 Stars

About the Author: Malika Oufkir (Arabic: مليكة أوفقير) (born April 2, 1953) is a Moroccan writer and former "disappeared". She is the daughter of General Mohamed Oufkir and a cousin of fellow Moroccan writer and actress Leila Shenna.