Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kids Today: I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced

Book JacketMy nine year old niece asked me what I was reading (I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced),and I stuttered as I explained, because she's the age of Nujood (about -- we know A's birthday, but N's is vague about her exact age). The idea of nine year olds as appropriate marriage material is horrendous and repulsive, yet it is also a fact of life for many children just as Nujood.

I'm reading the book through two filters, since it's a translation of a book told to an adult, and I did wonder how much of the book was Nujood Ali vs the co-author, Delphine Minoui. The voice and opinions sounded authentically young, but clearly the structure and the pacing was set by Minoui. I don't know how much input the girl had over the text -- was it a series of interviews, did Minoui piece together a lot of what happened, how much could have been a diary if Nujood could write? Heck, how are the proceeds divided?

Regardless, the book gives a clear sense of life in Yemen for poor girls and their families, and how modern life and old customs clash in unpleasant ways. I might offer it to my twelve year old, but I'm not ready to give it to the nine year olds. B

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