Not Your Baby
Not Your Baby
My ex used to give me catty looks from the field and I imagined what his calves looked like underneath his socks. His name was Ahmed, but everybody called him Ahmed the Foot because he was so fast with the football. He could get the ball right from half a field’s distance, but he couldn’t get me right a centimeter away. So I asked him:
”Do you even know what a clitoris is?”
”Is it some kind of animal?”
Samira is looking for three things in a guy. He has to be able to behave, be intelligent, and to pleasure a girl. But finding someone who meets all requirements seems more difficult than keeping a pair of white sneakers white. Then she meets Nabil and everything seems perfect. He encourages her to write rap lyrics and is interested in her football playing. Maybe too interested even? Soon he wants to control everything she does, and her existence becomes more and more narrow. At the same time, Samira’s friend is being shamed on social media by a guy she broke up with. But revenge is sweet, and luckily there are nice guys as well.
A review and sample translation can be found on Swedish Book Review: https://swedishbookreview.org/not-your-baby-extract
Listen to an English reading of Not Your Baby by the translator Sophie Ruthven: https://youtu.be/DsctWdgilRs
- Press voices
- “Among other YA literature, Not Your Baby sticks out. Alsaati has a background as a rapper and that shows—her language is quick, sharp and precise. It was a long time ago that I read a such a tight debut, and the depiction of Samira’s thought and conversations with her family and friends is pitch perfect.” – Dagens Nyheter
”Not Your Baby is a strong depiction of a jealousy drama and of being so much in love that you forget yourself and forget to respect your own needs.... Even the depiction of Samira’s roller coaster of feeling is engaging and realistic. In conclusion, this is a strong book that will show you that you need to love yourself the most and demand to be treated with respect.” – BTJ
”Despite the difficult experiences and the seriousness of the subject, it has an uplifting tone. There are ways out and back and forward, or at least ways to change, even for the parents' generation. There are others that share the same experiences and there are adults that see and understand, perhaps more than you think.... I want to understand what and how Samira and Amina think, and I want their sisterhood to continue – because together they are very strong. And very funny.” – Saga Nordwall, Dagensbok.com
”I understand the idea of addressing high schoolers and I hope that they read it, because Not Yout Baby is really good. The language is fantastic and the story about psycological abuse both common and important to talk about. Those who doesn’t share all these experiences or haven’t thought about it much will hopefully take the message to heart and bring it with them as they move into adulthood." – Anna Nygård, Nyhetsbyrån Järva
- Winner of the Slangbellan Award 2020
The Slangbellan jury's motivation:
”Not Your Baby is a dark story about being a young woman in a destructive relationship where love has to take a backseat because of jealousy, controlling behavior and manipulation. But it is also a story filled with light about sisterhood and about finding your way back to yourself. With a quick, humoristic and innovative prose Seluah Alsaati gives life and a voice to the young main character, Samira. It is an impressive debut that leaves no one untouched."