- Paperback: 188 pages
- Publisher: Broadway Books; First Edition edition (March 2, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307589676
- ISBN-13: 978-0307589675
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (559 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced Paperback – March 2, 2010
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Chosen by Glamour magazine as a Woman of the Year in 2008, Nujood of Yemen has become an international hero for her astonishingly brave resistance to child marriage. Sold off by her impoverished family at the age of 10, continually raped by her husband before she even reached puberty, Nujood found the courage to run away, and with the help of an activist lawyer, sympathetic judges, and the international press, she divorced her husband and returned home. Her clear, first-person narrative, translated from the French and written with Minoui, is spellbinding: the horror of her parents’ betrayal and her mother-in-law’s connivance, the “grown-ups” who send the child from classroom and toys to nightmare abuse. She never denies the poverty that drives her parents and oppresses her brothers, even as she reveals their cruelty. Unlike her passive mother, she is an activist, thrilled to return to school, determined to save others, including her little sister. True to the child’s viewpoint, the “grown-up” cruelty is devastating. Readers will find it incredible that such unbelievable abuse and such courageous resistance are happening now. --Hazel Rochman
“A powerful new autobiography...It’s hard to imagine that there have been many younger divorcées—or braver ones—than a pint-size third grader named Nujood Ali.”
—Nicholas Kristof, New York Times
“Shocking...captures the social challenges facing Yemen better than any scholarly work could hope to do.”
“Her case has brought international exposure to the archaic practice of robbing girls of their youth.”
—People (Four Stars)
“An international icon of tenacity and courage.”
“One of the greatest women I have ever seen . . . She set an example with her courage.”
“This book took my breath away. It broke my heart but put it back together again with a renewed hope in the staggering power of the human spirit. What Nujood did to save her life was a miracle; that she did it as a ten-year-old child is, quite simply, astounding.”
—Carolyn Jessop, author of Escape and Triumph
“Nujood and all other girls like her who are traded like objects deserve to be heard. This important book gives them a voice and sheds light on an ugly secret that has destroyed the lives of children for centuries.”
—Marina Nemat, author of Prisoner of Tehran
“Simple and straightforward in its telling, this is an informative and thoroughly engaging narrative.”
Top Customer Reviews
"I am Nujood, Aged 10 and Divorced" is a true story, written by Delphine Minoui, an adult, and Nujood Ali, who is still a child. Obviously, the actual writing is done by Minoui, as Ali has not had much schooling. Ali's voice is in first person, but that is where I find myself distracted. In the child's words, I hear the voice of an adult. Her observations too keen, more wise than her years, more educated than her one year of schooling would allow. Sometimes, she briefly mentions religion or culture as a way to educate readers about the context of the situation but yet immediately professes her ignorance. She cannot be ignorant and knowing at the same time. Minoui would have done better to write from the child's perspective and intersperse that with a third person narrative when attempting to educate the reader about the religious, political and social issues. For these distracting lapses, I subtract one star.
The story itself is very interesting. I remember reading of Ali's plight in the papers. In the book, she tells how she was wed and what that was like, how she decided to leave and the manner in which she escaped (it was fascinating) and what happened afterwards. I learned many details I did not know about from the media. The time frame of her story is quite short, less than a year, and the book is able to maintain focus.
Ali is a courageous young little girl, the first girl ever to win a divorce in her country, and I hope her life brings her much deserved happiness.
The details that could really enrich this story are lacking. Nujood goes to ask for a divorce and is told this is unprecedented and it will be a difficult case. Then she has a hearing and -- presto! -- gets a divorce. What happened in between times? What efforts did her protectors make to get that divorce for her? It can't have been as easy as she makes it sound. Also, more details about Nujood's relationship with her family after the divorce would have been nice. She had, after all, had her father temporarily put into prison, and I would have liked some information on how the family dynamics changed or didn't change. None of the characters are very well-developed.
I can't escape the feeling that this girl is being used, and I wonder if she regrets this book's publication or will regret it in the future. Certainly it brought unwelcome notoriety to her family in a culture that prizes honor above everything.
This book would, I think, have been better off as a third-person biography of Nujood, perhaps set in the broader context of a study of child marriages in the Middle East. At least, a foreword or afterword describing the divorce case in detail would have helped a lot. As it was the book just left me feeling rather uneasy.
Little Nujood Ali is a typical Yemeni child. She loves her dolls, she likes to play house, and dreams of going to school, maybe becoming a teacher or even getting married someday. Except for Nujood, "someday" is today. Her father enjoys the state of matrimony so thoroughly, he can't stop after one wife and family. Nope, although he cannot support the wife and kids he does have, good old Pop decides he needs to double the financial burden and get himself a second wife and set of kiddies.
To cover the costs of his nuptial excesses, he sells off his ten year old daughter to an acquaintance. Here in the U.S. we call grown men with a penchant for little kids degenerates. In Yemen, they are called husbands.
Technically a "bride," Nujood is in fact, a chattel, to be used as her new husband and family see fit. Her husband does not follow accepted custom and wait for the child to reach puberty before raping her. Puberty! I guess by Yemeni standards, this is decency and restraint...because as we all know, a girl of 12 is a woman.
I understand that Yemen is a society that lacks the benefits of Western progress. I also understand that before a culture can consider such esoteric points of etiquette as not selling off your babies to licentious old goats, there has to be a certain standard of living. Perhaps it is only through education and civilization that humans attain the discernment that allows this sort of genteel reflection, and develop the ability to differentiate between that which is decent and moral and that which is heinous. But come on, haven't we heard over and over again that the Middle East is the Cradle of Civilization? It's not a matter of not knowing better, it's a matter of greed and licentiousness and corruption...and it smells as bad in Yemen as it would in Yellowstone!
Nujood's abuse is not only condoned, it's encouraged by her family, by men and women alike. Her mother can't be bothered to help her. Her mother-in-law just wants a willing household slave to serve everyone's whims. When Nujood shows a little of the courage that is her stellar quality, the MIL encourages the husband really get tough. Ordinary rape, beatings and torture aren't good enough...not if one needs to show a tiny ten year girl who's boss.
Unlike most of the child brides in her country, Nujood was -- and continues to be -- lucky. She managed to contact sympathetic adults and, through them, some more evolved local officials who risked their own lives and welfare to rescue her. They have their share of near misses, but Nujood gets away safely and becomes a ten-year-old divorcee and survivor. Of course, this 'dishonors' her family and her husband. If she were to be captured and returned to them, either her father or husband would be justified in killing her. These baby rapists are very touchy about "honor."
Through this book, via an international education program, and her own personal dedication, Nujood Ali is changing the system (or at least starting to) in order to protect other children in her homeland...and particularly her younger sisters who will be next to go up on the block when Pop needs to prove his manhood with a third wife he is incapable of supporting.
This book was almost unbearably hard to read. It's almost impossible for Westerners to imagine a life where Nujood's fate is that which most female children can expect. Reading the book made me angry...I kept flinging it across the room and was on the point of enlisting in whatever branch of the military will take a women of an age where her first crush might have been Fabian. Fortunately there is no such branch since I'm useless at any form of warfare that goes beyond the "Am not" "Are too" stage. However, it did move me to get out my wallet and put some money where my mouth is. If you read this and get mad, contact Girls World Communications Center at email@example.com, a Yemen-based organization crated to help future Nujoods. There are other groups to be found on the internet...just google Nujood's name.
As I said, this is a hard book to read. It's infuriating and my blood is still on the boil. But it's also important to understand that the world still has its dark corners and dirty little secrets. Learning is the first step toward changing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was able to pick up the Overdrive and Kindle versions from the e-library. I loved the narrator: Meera Simhan.Read more