She: A Fantasy
S.A. Jeejeebhoy (2011)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (11/11)
What if you are traveling down a dark road one night and suddenly a gust of wind tremendously impacts your car, and all of a sudden your life as you have known it and loved it is over? What if you feel like your body is suddenly weak, in constant pain, and you have difficulties remembering anything? What if you career as a songwriter is instantaneously ended because the music has died within you? How tragic it would be to have your fiancé and friends leave you because they believe you are faking your symptoms and don’t believe the truth about your condition. What is the condition? While the symptoms sound like something that would be caused by a traumatic brain injury and depression, there is no disease. Instead there is a possession by an entity known to a few as Akaesman.
Akaesman seeks out individuals to inhabit and control. He feeds off of their life energy. For some people, he just invades them for a brief period of time, like for one week. For others such as the woman in this story, he inhabits her body for almost seven years. Having lost almost everyone dear to her, except her beloved cat, this woman must fight to evict Akaesman. Desperately fighting constant malaise and confusion, she searches outside of herself for others who understand this possession and for those who know how to treat it. Discovering that there are a few doctors, lawyers and a Shadow Court designed to deal with this entity helps her know that this is for real. Having friends and other professionals scoff at her diagnosis weakens her and strengthens him.
She has to do everything she can to fight from giving in to the weakness that invades her. Trying out different medical strategies helps to some degree, but within the darkness that she finds within there is also a light. In this light is a higher being whose light becomes brighter as she seeks out spiritual help, and therapies based upon illumination. Growing spiritually she becomes stronger, and she also seems to be led to the right people who can help her. Shedding herself of this being also sheds much of who she used to be, but in some ways now she is a better person, because she is a survivor. The real test will come when she knows that her music has returned.
“She” is an incredibly well written novel that made me feel like I had stepped into the main character’s shoes and was able to physically feel her struggling to survive. Because of this, I found this novel very difficult to put down. I felt like if I put it down, then I wasn’t helping her to recover. So I had to keep reading! There were also times were I found myself covered in goose bumps. Because of the intensity of her condition, it seemed so real. The thought of having an unwelcome entity take over your body and your life is terrifying! It is those fears and the emotional rollercoaster that this novel takes you on that makes it such a wonderful book to read.