Review of 'The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters'

The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters by Nadiya Hussain

the_secret_lives_of_the_amir_sisters.jpg The Amir family live in modern England with four sisters and a son. The youngest daughter, Mae, is obsessed with social media while twins Farah is married to Mustafa (from Bangladesh), and Bubblee, attempting to distance herself from the family by living as an artist in London. The oldest daughter Fatima has a bit of a problem not only with her weight (fuelled by squeezable cheese and prawns) but also with her continuing failure to pass her driving test. Son Jay, is the darling of their somewhat traditional parents but spends much of his time away. An argument on the phone with Jay causes Mustafa to crash his car, ending up in intensive care. As the family gathers to support Farah secrets are revealed and tempers flare…

An enjoyable and easy read from Nadiya Hussain who is best known as the popular winner of the BBC television show “Great British Bake Off” in 2015 but now as the author of not only several cookbooks but a biography and some fiction with “Secret Lives” being her first novel. Here she manages to capture the very believable lives of the Amir family complete with their faults, their secrets and their joys.

The book is told from the perspective of each of the very different daughters who each bring a different angle to the unfolding story. “Secret Lives” is often intensely personal with each of the characters painted so vividly we really care about what actually happens to them…Who will tell who what, whether the secrets they hold will be revealed and whether they will see the truth that is so incredibly obvious to the reader. It is this last that is perhaps the most irritating as the story seems to occasionally stall as the characters seem to repeat themselves (perhaps a reflection of real life) though the ending certainly does come quite quickly.

Generally an easy to read story of modern life that manages to squeeze in some home truths as well.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2020-08-10

Genre: General Fiction

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: 2017

ISBN: 9780008192259