This book is interesting for two reasons; not only is it a well written fantasy book in its own right it also holds, for me, a deeper meaning. The main character has been invaded by an alien force called Akaesman and this invasion causes the character to change radically; emotionally and physically. The deeper meaning is this could be the story of almost every person who has a 'hidden' disease, whether that be M.E., Fibromyalgia, Lupus or other disorders which can't be seen or understood easily by those around them.
Zarine, the 'she' in the story, is having a normal evening drive with her fiancee. On the way they encounter a force on a forest road which blows the car off course and causes Zarine to be slightly injured. Her fiancée gets control over the car again and they reach the edge of the forest where they are stopped by the Akaesman Patrol who look them over and advise Zarine to visit her GP first thing. After her encounter Zarine starts to change physically, mentally and emotionally. Her friends put this down to a lack of will, depression and laziness, mocking what they can't see or understand and telling her it's all in her mind. Zarine is bewildered but struggles on, helping herself the best way she can whilst facing professionals who tell her she is perfectly fine. Eventually she finds the help she needs and embracing faith and expressing true grit she pushes through to her conclusion.
This book follows the story of a woman who was normal one day and who gradually became unable to do the things she once took for granted. It looks at her relationship with her friends and family, the inevitable 'pull yourself together' conversations and the lack of care from some health professionals who simply don't have the answers but won't admit it. It highlights misconceptions about 'hidden' illnesses beautifully and, at one point, reduced me to tears with its realism, emotions and truthfulness.
Shirleen Jeejeebhoy has written a story people can relate to who have a relative or friend in a similar situation to the main character. Her heroine isn't there to be pitied, she is there to show there is light at the end of the tunnel and things can get better no matter what obstacles are thrown in the way or other people's ignorance. Resilience and bravery will win out.