This is a difficult book to put down. "Breakaway" depicts Lebanese-born and American-bred Nadia Sahari's desperate struggle to escape the steel-like vises of machismo and control in Dearborn, Michigan's insular Arab-American community of the 1950's.
The reader finds themselves cheering for Nadia from page 1. As she survives horror after horror (her "respectable" grandfather's molestation, a rape and consequent pregnancy, being disowned, a forced - and botched - illegal abortion, marriage to an alcoholic), Nadia's humanity and extreme courage leaps off the page. So does her good humor and wisdom, and what might ordinarily be a dark read instead leaves you stunned and grateful.
Don't skip the epilogue. The value of faith, forgiveness and reconciliation (and what can occur without it) are expressed beautifully.
Bottom line: An important, inspiring read. Buy the book.
I think any woman could read Nadia's very readable and action-packed story and come out with something she could relate to. If you've experienced physical or sexual abuse and recovered from the trauma, you'll root for Nadia to do the same and cheer her courage and tenacity . If you're currently experiencing an abusive relationship, you will come away with hope and perhaps even some tools and strategies to help yourself. If you know someone else experiencing an abusive relationship, you'll feel more empowered to help them. If you need insights into why so many women will fight for the right to terminate a pregnancy legally, please read this book!
As a woman who fits all four descriptions above, I say this with the full power of my own experience. This is an adventure story that is hard to put down, an encouraging and insightful self-help book, and an illuminating example of the horrors of what happened to women who got pregnant prior to Roe v. Wade. Buy it.
Nadia shares her life story with us not only as a personal catharsis, but as a beacon of hope for abused peoples everywhere. Her personal choice to shape her own experience despite her painful circumstances and her anger toward her abusers is inspiring. Nadia demonstrates the power we all have to redefine ourselves and our lives. Reading Breakaway, I am once again encouraged to dare to dream and forgive.
Nadia's story of perseverance, hope and faith can serve as an inspiration to anyone. When living in an environment of abuse, hope for a better tomorrow can become difficult to believe in. Nadia's story, however, teaches us all that "this too shall pass" and that a better, happier, abuse free life beyond the present circumstance is possible. As a Sifu (teacher)of Kung Fu and Chi Kung, I am not the typical reader of books such as Nadia has written, books of hope and inspiration through a journey of domestic abuse. I am, however, a great fan of biographies and the stories of those whom have lifted themselves up from humble beginnings or circumstances of oppression and had the faith and drive to press on through emotional darkness or impossible odds. Nadia's book takes us on a journey through culture, religion and gender and shows us first hand the hush, hush treatment of girls in various societies. Perhaps more than anything, Nadia provides hope to victims of domestic violence who are still on the inside, looking out. Nadia's story shows us all that there is a place of hope and love beyond those walls. Sifu Jeff Larson Founder: Chi for Health
Break away is an empowering story that needs to be read by anyone who has suffered from abuse or knows anyone who has been abused. I am especially drawn to the international connection that Nadia expertly brings out in her narrative. This book contains an incredible story of survival. It is amazing all of the ordeals that Nadia has overcome. Nadia participated in my Off-Broadway production of The Vagina Monologues and she was an inspiration to the audience, the other actors, and musicians. Her generosity ranges from performing in our V day event, donating her books, and other items to help us raise money has been impressive and inspirational to me. Nadia's book made us more focused on the purpose of V day. After meeting Nadia, I was even more impressed with her story. I could not believe she was able to maintain such a positive spirit after reading all that she endured. Thank You Nadia for sharing your experience with others. It will give readers strength and hopefully inspire more victims to become survivors.
Dr. Moss-Bouldin, director of The Vagina Monologues, New World Stages, NYC 2009.
Reveals Her Recovery from Molestation, Beatings, Rape, Kidnapping and Attempts on Her Life
Lebanese-American writer, actress and entrepreneur Nadia Sahari has written a highly revealing memoir, BREAKAWAY: HOW I SURVIVED ABUSE, which dramatically details her 18 years of abuse, including sexual molestation by her grandfather, frequent severe beatings from her strict father and then from her alcoholic first husband, rape, kidnapping, family abandonment and several attempts on her life. The book explains how she overcame the fear and shame that kept her imprisoned in intolerable conditions and how she broke away from abuse and adjusted psychologically to personal freedom.
?Because there is so much abuse of women and children, I wrote this book to show what I went through and what I did to survive and get out of it,? Sahari explains. ?I wanted to give my readers hope, encouragement and inspiration to make the right choices that can save their lives and those of their children.
?When I endured abuse, I had no one to turn to, but today there are many groups people can go to for help. I list contact information for 26 of them in my book, including the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800/799-SAFE. I also emphasize that forgiving your abuser, whether they ask for it or not, is crucial to setting yourself free. There?s no reason to stay in an abusive situation. You have friends, neighbors and others who can help you, so you can break the silence that imprisons you.?
Irene Watson, author of The Sitting Swing: Finding the Wisdom to Know the Difference, declares, ?This is an extremely poignant book dealing with issues many women must overcome. I commend Nadia for coming out with her story so that other women can find hope and encouragement, and so that they can survive abuse.?
Christa Jan Ryan, Author of Silent Screams from the Hamptons and from the Depths of a Woman's Soul, says, ?Every once in a while comes a story that I believe has the power to change history. In Breakaway, Nadia Sahari walks the reader through the unbearable pain and struggles that she endured. The point that she drives home so well in the end is that we have the freedom and the choice to leave the abusive situation, as well as the freedom and the choice to find the healing that is needed to live a whole and fulfilling life.?
Connie E. Curry, author of Give Me Back My Glory confesses, ?I neglected my work and my house and could not stop reading Breakaway. I read it in one day, because I had to know how Nadia could pick herself up and fight on to become the courageous, energetic, successful woman, wife and mother she is today. This book is for anyone who has been abused, but it is also for any human being who wants to feel inspired.?
Up to three million women are physically abused in the U.S. each year, usually by a husband, boyfriend or family member?and that is only the fraction of cases reported. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, 17.7 million American women have been the victims of attempted or actual rape. A portion of the net proceeds from the sales of BREAKAWAY will be donated to groups that aid abused women and children.