Friday, April 12, 2013

Book Review of The Dohmestics

Book Review of The Dohmestics
       Author: Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar
               Sponsored by Innovative Book Tours

Welcome to Books, Books, and More Books.  I am pleased to share my review of this book with you.  Thank you for visiting and please come again.

Blurb : 

Edna, Amira, and Noof are neighbors but that doesn't mean they know what happens behind closed doors or that they have anything in common with their hired help.

Maria, Maya, and Lillie live in the same compound as their employers but that's where the similarities begin and end.

There's never a dull moment for anyone in this desert emirate.

The unending gossip and unrelenting competition may be business as usual for expatriate communities but the unspoken secrets threaten to destroy life as everyone knows it.

About the Author:

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a South Asian American who has lived in Qatar since 2005. Moving to the Arabian Desert was fortuitous in many ways since this is where she met her husband, had a baby, and made the transition from writing as a hobby to a full time passion.  She has since published five e-books including a mom-ior for first time mothers, Mommy But Still Me, a guide for aspiring writers, So You Want to Sell a Million Copies, a short story collection, Coloured and Other Stories, and a novel about women’s friendships, Saving Peace. Most recently, From Dunes to Dior, is a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf. After she joined the e-book revolution, she dreams in plotlines. Learn more about her work on her website at or follow her latest on Twitter: @moha_doha.


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“Alice,” she called from the front porch. There were several pieces of discarded sidewalk chalk around the bottom step. Edna picked these up, along with Alice’s abandoned sandals.

“She’s at the playground ma’am,” the neighbor’s nanny, Maria, said. She was pushing a toddler, Hamad, in a pram, as he did his best to wail and squirm his way out. 

“Oh hi,” Edna said. Maria was the complete opposite of Maya: lively, cracking jokes and keeping up with Hamad, one of the most active toddlers Edna had ever seen. People said boys were like that and she had to take them at their word, having only had Alice. “Thanks.” She wondered if Alice had seen Maria and Hamad, as the younger boy was one of her favorite playmates because of their shared love of swimming. Edna contemplated walking to the playground, which was in the opposite direction of where Maria was going, or joining the maid to get the latest news from her end of the compound. It was amazing how much she knew — and scary. Another reason she preferred not to employ domestic help. But as the sun was setting, chances were Noof would be home soon. Her friend did not understand Edna’s fascination with Maria or with the secondary lives of the maids in the compound. She would not appreciate seeing Edna on a walk with Maria without Alice. As she stepped off the porch in the other direction, Edna kept scanning the street.

A few steps later Maria stopped and took a deep breath. Anyone would need a few breaths with a screaming two year old boy, and with that one in particular could be granted many, depending on the day. She did a brisk round of the block and though there was a gaggle of children, mothers, and minders at the playground, there was no sight of Alice.

When she came back to her street, Maria hadn’t moved and Hamad was soothing himself with his thumb.

“Are you okay?”

The maid’s drawn face was her answer. Edna caught up with her and led Maria by the arm to one of Alice’s play chairs. The wood was sturdy enough to hold an adult. Out of habit, she put the back of her hand on Maria’s forehead, checking if she had a temperature. No heat there.


Maria was tight-lipped and her skin waxen. A few beads of sweat appeared on her forehead though October brought the cooler temperatures. The maid normally took great care with her grooming unlike some of the older ones at Noof’s mother’s house. But today her hair was knotted and hung down her back. The black mass slipped free of the braid the maid coiled at the nape of her neck every other day Edna saw her. Dark hairs were at the corners of her mouth and Edna could see stray eyebrow hair appearing across her brows. Other than when she babysat for them, often in sweats, Maria was immaculately dressed every Friday morning when she walked to the Tagalog service at the Catholic church, wearing black jeans and an Ed Hardy t-shirt. Edna wondered if she had been poorly for some time.

“Would you like some water?”

Maria opened her mouth to answer but bolted up suddenly, nearly clipping Edna under the chin. She ran to a nearby bush, bent over at the waist and began retching.  Despite the horrendous sounds, nothing was materializing.


Wow, what an eye-opening experience this book was. The peek into the lives of the wives, nannies, and servants of another culture.  In California, particularly my house,  the idea of having a live in maid/chef/nanny is a dream many a new mother has, but then reality sets in and she moves on.  While some people might have a live in nanny to help with children when both parents work, since it’s about the same or cheaper than full time daycare, we tend to treat them as members of the family.  This view of the position of a maid/nanny is very different.

Each of the women in this story show a different side to the same story.  The story is told in a quasi-omniscient form so that we could see what two of the main character think and act.

I found it an interesting look into the “help” in a new light.  I give this book 4 out of 5 clouds.

This product or book may have been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

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