“The Boy with Two Hearts” by Hamed Amirii


“The Boy with Two Hearts” by Hamed Amirii


There is so much press coverage around refugees and asylum seekers currently. It is interesting to read the perspective of a young boy and his family who have gone through the harrowing and often dangerous process to get to a safe country.

The narrator recalls his memories of himself as a 12-year-old schoolboy and his brothers, one of whom has a serious heart complaint (this had been treated in Iran previously, but now the Taliban were in power there was no way to legally leave the country). The three boys and the parents escaped a Taliban death threat from the small village in Herat, Afghanistan.

There were mixed feelings about the book and the discussion was lively. Most of the book club felt that the mother of the young boy put her family’s life in danger when she spoke to parents in their local school about not allowing their daughters to be denigrated by boys and men. It was this, thought by many of us, reckless speaking out that led to a death warrant being put on the parents. We have no idea why Hamid’s mother did this and it is not written about, we only have his recollections of events from Hamid himself, his parents refused to speak of it. What is clear from the book, is Hamid himself had huge respect for his mother and her actions.

The book does give the reader insight into the hazardous and often extremely dangerous undertaking to get to a safe country and the reliance on dangerous traffickers to deliver them to whatever country they could. In this case it was the UK, but it seemed to be on the whim and facilities of the traffickers and often, situational opportunities. It also gives insight into how ruthless the traffickers are with little or no thought of the vulnerable people who pay dearly (with everything they own and sometimes with their lives) to get them to their destination. It took this one family, everything they owned to pay for the trip and over a year to get to a safe country and new life.

The book was certainly thought provoking and insightful and made the reader think about how lucky we are to be in such a safe and, in the main, protected country where we will never need to make those decisions that Hamid’s parents made. We gave this book a score 7/8

Tina Alwyn