The ECBC Book Club: Nadiya Hussain, Finding My Voice

Trigger warning: this book and this blog post discuss sensitive topics such as suicidal thoughts and sexual abuse. If you do not feel in a good place right we would advise you come back to this post when you feel ready.

I remember Nadiya Hussain’s face when she found out she won bake off back in 2016. I remember the tears streaming down my face as she accepted her trophy and said the most inspiring words:

I am never never going to put boundaries on myself ever again. I’m never going to say ‘I can’t do it’. I’m never going to say ‘Maybe..’ I’m never going to say ‘I don’t think I can.’ I can, and I will.

Now I’m not embarrassed to say I have rewatched that clip on several occasions on YouTube when I have felt down or felt not good enough. She inspired me and continues to inspire me.

So when she announced she had written a memoir – I had to read it, and I was not disappointed. The book itself is split into different sections Nadiya believes she can be split into – mum, daughter, daughter-in-law, wife, sister and focuses on her relationships with her family and with herself.

‘What is it to be a mum?…to feel guilt so intense, the emotion becomes your default. To feel love so strong, you think your heart is going to explode. To feel so protective that everyone becomes the enemy.’

Nadiya is extremely honest about her anxiety and low self-esteem from a very early age. She discusses a dark time at school where she was bullied and how she had suicidal thoughts whilst still in primary school.

She focusses on how her anxiety developed into her adult years and what it is like to live with a panic disorder. Addressing her culture and how this has affected her upbringing and now her present life. Discussing how the Muslim culture can argubly lower expectations for women than Western cultures. A very debatable topic I am sure, Nadiya does say she loves being a mum and continues to make her children proud.

‘Nobody wants to be hated, but to be hated enough for someone to take up their time filming about it is dedication.’

With her fame from British bake off Nadiya discusses the impact on her family, inparticular how her children have come across negative stories and content about their mum. Faced with racism and internet trolls Nadiya explains how she tries to overcome these barriers whilst also accepting they come with the fame she has recieved.

With each chapter comes a poem Nadiya has written, relating to the content of the chapter. She has collected these poems over time and it works well to see them connected to the chapters she has written.

Nadiya also includes recipes related to the chapters. I will be trying these myself having previously purchased one of Nadiya’s recipe books I love what she cooks and how easy they are to make.

Overall I found the book very easy to read, relatable at times but also an eye opener into growing up with two cultures surrounding you and how that can impact your mental health.

Thank you Nadiya for sharing your story and for continuing to inspire others to follow their dreams.

Emma x

If you have read Nadiya’s book please comment below with your thoughts. ECBC started the online book club to create a community online that can discuss books we love and how they have helped with our mental health.

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