September 10, 2011

Literary Pick(***)

I am Nujood (Age 10 and Divorced)
-Nujood Ali, Delphine Minoui

I give this book three stars, not because of the writing but because of Nujood's story. It's so frustrating to see a story like this fall into the hands of someone who fails to execute it in a way that screams out at society for attention. Writers who take on important subjects as this have a moral obligation as a journalist to either bring a story like this to the highest point of exposure possible or to simply step away. I'm aware now that Nujood's story received international coverage, but how is it that I didn't hear about this story until perusing books in the biography section of the local Barnes & Nobles? the cover title is certainly intriguing "(I Am Nujood) Age 10 and Divorced", but perhaps it's because, simply put, the book sucks. Let's first address the format...I think a fairytale scheme plays down and minimizes the severity of the subject. I understand it was suppose to be told by Nujood, a child, which is not at all convincing. It's obvious, to me at least, that the story was mostly told by Delphine Minoui, the co-author of the book. However, I believe a more dramatic, investigative report approach would have been a more effective way of bringing awareness to this culture-sensitive subject. Another thing that bothered me about the book is that it's only 176 pages long. Which I believe is not nearly long enough to describe the horrors and torments this child had to endure for 2 long months, and that's not including the court case itself and some more background information on her family dynamics. The author spent most of the beginning of the book describing the scenery of the Yemeni region in the Middle East, which I think it's safe to say we're all familiar with. And please don't tell me that shit was symbolism. This story is grossly insufficient.
Now to get to the unanswered questions of Nujood's was it for her when she had to return home to her parents from court after the divorce was granted? I would assume she got a beating from her father and brother for "dishonoring" and bringing shame to the family. That part wasn't addressed or questioned. What happened to Ada's second wife who assisted Nujood in her escape? why didn't anyone bother interviewing her? Why didn't Nujood seek asylum when she visited France? Also, I'm not totally convinced the royalties to this book are being dispersed to the Ali family.. there were just too many unanswered questions. It'll be interesting to see how the Ali family developes within the next 10 years. I think Nujood in this year of 2012 must be around 12-13 years of age.. we can only hope she is allowed to finish school and realize her dreams of becoming a lawyer. There is no question she is incredibly courageous. I wish her the best and I will be keeping my ears open for updates on her life.


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