Drawing on her own experiences as a woman of Iranian and British Isle descent, writer Hollay Ghadery dives into conflicts and uncertainty surrounding the bi-racial female body and identity, especially as it butts up against the disparate expectations of each culture. Painfully and at times, reluctantly, Fuse probes and explores the documented prevalence of mental health issues in bi-racial women.
Valuable lessons emerge from Ghadery’s complex identity struggles. Exercise, medication, natural remedies, therapy, love for and from her own family, and the support of other women help Ghadery heal and grow. While her first three children have her husband’s last name, Ghadery gives her fourth child, a son, her last name. The act of naming is empowering, unlike accepting or rejecting labels from others.
A searing account of the impact of toxic masculinity on a vulnerable young girl's psyche. Hollay, born to an Iranian father and a White mother, explodes onto the page with her coming of age story. Told with wit and verve, Hollay zig zags through the minefield of familial and cultural expectations set for girl children in the 1980's and 90’s, all the while battling an inherited vulnerability to mental illness. Hollay's heroic story to find her authentic self is, at turns, zany, heart-breaking, and profound. A must read.
I loved Fuse. Ghadery’s writing is raw and beautiful; the tiny details she includes in each story bring you closer to her, and she bravely allows you in. She offers a unique and much-needed perspective on multiraciality and her experience of a bi-cultural life, as well as mental health and addiction, motherhood, and personal growth. I highly recommend it.
So, far from being a dispassionate investigation, the narrative became a series of windows into Ghadery’s own personal struggles with these conditions. The effect is informative and often moving. The lack of linearity in the narrative has the effect of immersing the reader more into what she is going through, without the sense that there will be inevitable improvement or change. One feels just the immediacy of the moment. This sometimes leads to a lack of chronological clarity, but in the main it intensifies the reader’s experience.
I cannot find enough superlatives to describe the savage clarity, the gorgeous language, and the remarkable depth of insight contained in this courageous book. It took my breath away.