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Beneath My Mother's Feet Paperback – April 19, 2011
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7–10—After her father's work injury and her older brother's disappearance, 14-year-old Nazia is pulled from school to join her mother for exhausting and humiliating work cleaning houses in modern-day Karachi. This change of status jeopardizes the girl's arranged marriage with her cousin back in their native village. Reminded by her mother of the Prophet Muhammad's words, "All children know that the gates of heaven lie beneath their mother's feet," Nazia is torn between her wish for further education and her need to be a dutiful daughter. Happily, what seems a terrible disgrace eventually frees her for more satisfying possibilities. Along the way, she comes to realize that her mother rightly characterizes the beloved men in her family as unreliable and dishonest, and she helps a boy essentially sold into servitude by his mother to escape; these story threads are not always smoothly woven into the narrative. Nazia's story is told in a limited third person but occasionally the author's voice breaks through, explaining her thinking for American readers. This first novel by a Muslim Indian-American provides a fascinating glimpse into a world remarkably distant from that of most American teens, and would be an excellent suggestion for readers who want to know about how other young people live.—Kathleen Isaacs, Towson University, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Growing up in a working-class neighborhood in Karachi, Pakistan, Nazia has always been a dutiful daughter. She works hard in school, helps her mother at home, and prepares for her upcoming marriage to a cousin. Then Nazia’s father loses his job and his will to work, her dowry is stolen, and the family descends swiftly into poverty. After eviction from their home, Nazia and her mother take positions as live-in servants in a wealthy Karachi suburb, and Nazia begins a life of labor, leaving school behind. With rich detail, Qamar’s heartrending novel explores the cultural and economic pressures facing a young girl in contemporary Pakistan. Nazia and her friends have been raised with the notion that their lives are not their own to shape: “Your mother decides now, and when you get married, your mother-in-law will take her place.” Qamar shows the surprising freedom and courage that can come with losing everything, and she creates in Nazia a courageous, fascinating character whose eye-opening life choices will inspire readers. Grades 7-10. --Gillian Engberg --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Romance Score – Not A Bit
Nazia has long known she is destined to marry her cousin.Read more