Reviews & Interviews for
I Am Yours & Reema Zaman
"An epistolary to love, Reema Zaman’s story is stunning. Zaman archives a personal journey that’s intimate and attuned to a wider cultural moment. A staggering work filled with presence, I Am Yours provides a profound explanation of love, delivered as an act of witness. Powerfully vulnerable and eloquent, Zaman's voice is a fire - full-throated, wide-open, and roaring."
"(A) fabulous trajectory (of) powerful transformation."
“Zaman’s lines of love to her readers are urgent, unhurried, generous, and, yes, uniquely deserving of the appellation gorgeous. Again and again, Zaman’s sentences are so outstanding, they demand to be reread: “We baffled brown-folk stick out like Troll Dolls airdropped into Barbie and Ken’s Dreamtopia.” Or so devastating that they insist on being memorized: “I keep my voice small and soft like a molten M&M, lest he declare me vain and grows angry.” I Am Yours is a memoir that encourages all our stories to be told. Zaman’s commitment to making her voice heard, and to helping others find and share their voices, is inspiring: “We know the voice, without intimacy, will atrophy. Therefore, we also know the voice, if given love, even by oneself, will grow.” Zaman’s love letter is, ultimately, a gift."
"Each page contains epiphanies that read like prayers. I Am Yours creates a haven for trauma narratives—one that simultaneously records and reauthors the writer’s deepest challenges. (Zaman's) memoir fulfills the satisfying arc we expect: the heroine loses her innocence, struggles, and ultimately prevails. But her unique approach makes I Am Yours distinctive. In the midst of Zaman’s darkest episodes, she invokes the witness, “my love,” and reminds readers that an actualized writer (not the wounded character) controls her story. Whether Zaman learned these skills or intuited them, she models self-soothing for us and reveals a new way to write memoir—one that speaks back to trauma in her revolutionary style."
"Reema Zaman's utterly unique debut, I Am Yours, begins with Reema addressing the “you” from a desk in Oregon, where, at thirty, she has gone to process the traumas she has survived throughout her life in Bangladesh, Thailand and New York. The increasing absence of “you” is a spectacular way to illustrate the long-term consequences of emotional abuse—its violent denial of one’s own reality. What happens when we let our inner voices speak, and speak louder than the harmful voices we might have internalized from abuse or society itself? Art happens. Zaman teaches us that something magical—perhaps revolutionary—happens when we engage in dialogue with ourselves: we close the hyphen between the self and something good. She teaches us a new way to think about what writing means, and why we write, and what it means to honor the human voice above all when we tell our stories."
Chicago Review of Books: Re-Authoring a Life in Reema Zaman's I Am Yours
"There is an unwavering confidence to Zaman’s prose. A pulse point, that calls to mind unflinching memoirists that precede her, Melissa Febos and Cheryl Strayed. Zaman seamlessly weaves the intersection of her racial identity and gender identity, skillfully exploring the compounding oppression and inherent racism."
“The lasting grace of I Am Yours resides in Zaman’s exquisite and lyrical voice, at once tender and searing, that bravely seeks to portray the timeless complexities of the female condition and speak truth to power.”
"When I heard Reema Zaman speak at a reading soon after the 2016 election, I thought, This is the soundtrack of a modern resistance.” "“I purposefully include scenes of loving, caregiving relationships with young boys I’ve had the privilege of knowing and caring for, alongside scenes of abusive or unkind partners. I do it to show that we are all born as children—innocent—and then become the love or the pain that is taught to us.”
“Reema Zaman’s prose is ablaze. Lyrical, precise, in places frothing with desire or rage or faith, these are hard stories, let loose at last with grace, sagacity, and dollops of clever humor. At its heart, I Am Yours is a story of hope. In this time of #metoo, #timesup, and #whyididntreport, this time of women — especially Women of Color — at last sweeping into political power, and also this time of tremendous backlash, Reema Zaman’s powerhouse hope is just what we need.”
"What I love most about Zaman’s writing is that you don’t want to rescue her because you don’t feel like you have to. She is anchored. She has claimed her strength, and if you follow her path, you’ll have yours, too. She is seizing the torch, holding it high, and asking us to remember that we are not alone."
"Public speaker Zaman debuts with the powerful account of how she grew from being a voiceless girl to a woman with a confident 'roar.' This lovely work of hope and resilience will resonate with women struggling to find their voice and place in the world."
"In this candid book, Zaman not only celebrates her quest to define herself and her voice, but also to find health, self-love, and wholeness. An eloquently searching and intelligent memoir.”
"This is a powerful work of literature, and one that cries for consideration on its merits, as well as in light of the historical moment in which it was published."
"It was March 22, and outside was the tempest of Treefort Music Fest 2019, but in under a minute, Zaman had complete control over her surroundings."
"As artists, we want to speak from the scar, not the wound, from self-possession as opposed to raw pain. The audience can feel the difference. It's a matter of coming from pain versus self-possession. When an artist creates or performs from pain and inexperience, you feel their pain and inexperience and nothing else. In contrast — and this is the power and magical potential of great art — when you read or watch an artist perform from a place of self-anchored strength, as the audience, you feel invigorated with newfound clarity, wisdom, and inspiration."
"Growing up in Bangladesh, Reema Zaman was assaulted by a cousin and harassed by teachers and strangers on the street. Then, after moving to the U.S. for college, she was raped at 23 years old. Because she had no family in the U.S. at the time, and chose not to take legal action as not to jeopardize the status of her visa or career, she relied solely on herself to heal, particularly her daily rituals of running 7 miles, strength training, and conscious eating. 'They're like spirituality for me,' Zaman says. "Fitness has been my method for creating stability, centeredness, and independence in this world," she says. 'We need to commit ourselves to our own rise, by doing things that nourish our ability to live, heal, and move from one day to another.'"
"Reema Zaman tackles challenging topics and vulnerable stories with exceptional poise, eloquence, and warmth. Merging writing, motivational speech, theater, and spoken word, (Reema speaks) on healing and rising beyond adversities. (She) explores the power within all women, all human beings, our ability to be the authors of our lives and leaders in the larger world."