Title: The Prayer Rug
Author: H.M. Hymas
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Copyright: June 23, 2015
Format: E-Book, 155 Pages, $14.91 [Amazon Paperback], $6.99 [Kindle], $0.00 [KindleUnlimited], $14.95 [Barnes & Noble Paperback]
Powerfully emotional, The Prayer Rug is a story of strength, faith and resilience. Reem, a wife and mother of two, is caught in Iraq after the invasion of US Forces. What began as a future full of hope slowly begins to unravel before her eyes. As the original effort to remove a tyrannical dictator degrades into civil war, it engulfs everyone and everything around her. Everything she loves is slowly taken from her as she watches forces beyond her control destroy her family. Helpless, she clings to her prayer rug in an effort to find strength and peace.
When I was in university, I took a class called American Realism where we read a book called The Jungle. The Jungle, written by Upon Sinclair, spurred on legislation such as 1906 “Pure Food and Drug Act” and the “Meat Inspection Act”. The purpose of “The Jungle” was that it was propaganda and that it brought awareness to horrid labor conditions and the total lack of sanity in the workplace. Propaganda literature can often serve a good purpose but authors have to strike a delicate balance. There is a difference between informing readers about an issue and bashing them over the head with the topic.
That is how I felt when I read H.M. Hymas’s The Prayer Rug. It tells the story of the unfortunate Reem who lives in Iraq with her husband and her two children. Iraq was already a dangerous country to live in when Saddam Hussein came to power but it seems to spiral out of control as the American forces arrive. Reem and her family, with no income coming into the family, are forced to starve and find food where they can.
Although I got the impression that Reem was a strong woman who has suffered a lot, I felt like I never really got to know her as a character. None of the characters particularly stood out and I failed to form a connection with them. The flow of the story was steady but it seemed to completely lack a plot. The tone and atmosphere was hopeless and depressing. I really wanted to enjoy The Prayer Rug but there just wasn’t enough to really hook me as a reader.
While it is a worthwhile endeavor to inform the general public about life in Iraq, I felt like this story lacked substance. I felt the author did way too much telling and I felt like I was being talked down to. The characters really weren’t able to speak for themselves and that is a shame. As I finished, I asked myself, “What would Reem say if she could?” I suppose I will never know.
I received “The Prayer Rug” by H.M. Hymas from Reading Deals in exchange for an honest review. All words written here are my own.
Reviewed by the Merry Wife of Windsor.