Book review: Stained by Abda Khan

Posted on Updated on

This will be your only Trigger warning for discussions r@pe and sexual assault.



Reading a book that involves maneuvers through the nuances of the psychological and psychical effects of rape, rape culture, is extremely tough to read. At moments it was uncomfortable, but while reading I had to remind myself that one: this story is important, and two: my discomfort comes from a place of privilege. The titled Stained instantly made me think of The Scarlet Letter. 

Stained centers Selina Hussain, a british-born Pakistani who is under-prepared for her economics test so she receives help from Zubair Qureshi, a good friend of hers and her family. One thing I noticed the author did that was really important was how she put an emphasis on Selina focusing on academia and going to college and her having little interest relationships. It shouldn’t come to much of a surprise that Zubair  is the predator who eventually rapes her. Which, to me isn’t a spoiler because like its clear in the synopsis.

The author does an amazing job with positioning us inside the perspective of a victim. A lot of times, people, assume that a survivor of rape doesn’t go through anything else. We often ignore the fact that it is a everlasting trauma that reoccurs and can be triggered by so many things. For me some of the best moments was being able to witness Selina gain courage and can autonomy of herself again.

Stained has a lot to offer readers, from a  great perspective we often don’t get experience, The writing throughout flowed really and while at points it made me uncomfortable with how raw and honest it was it still maintained a certain beauty. told in first person, Abda Khan wrote the rest of the characters in ways that made them come to life from the pages. The characters who i was suppose to hurt for I did. The ones who I was suppose to despise and hate, I did. Her characters felt more real than a lot other characters. She allowed herself to be honest when writing this book and it reflects in what she has to offer. I recommend everyone go out and get this book!