Farida’s Mirror, the debut novel by Riham Rady, is a strong work that shows her confidence in her set of skills and how she depends on well-researched information to paint a realistic world. Also it was very daring of her to visit the deplorable slumps we call “عشوائيات” to get to know how the people, she calls “Forgotten”, live, interact, and survive their hardships.

The book tells the coming-of-age story of Pinar El-Awady, a young journalist, who leads an aimless life after the death of her mother, but her life is rekindled when the editor-in-chief asks her to do a challenging investigation about the the forgotten class in Egypt. From this moment, her perspective on life changes when she delves head on into a colorless world that is devoid of joy and any sort of luxury, and does not contain but misery and tragedy.

It was challenging to write the thoughts and rantings of her character without making her protagonist sound self-centered, and turning the novel into a lagging diary, but Riham made the novel balanced and the insights developed the characters perfectly.

The use of informal language and slang words may seem annoying at first for the older readers, but they will soon realise that this is the way the younger generations talk. Moreover, the way the character talks about what some slang words means is amusing.

You should check this book out. It is original, thrilling and discusses the lives of a social class long forgotten and ignored in the buzz of everyday life.