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Review: I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced

May 27, 2010

Nujood Ali is a young girl living in Yemen.  Since her birth wasn’t registered anywhere, Nujood isn’t sure how old she is.  She’s a typical girl – she fights with her siblings, likes to play and loves school.   When she was in her second year of school, a man three times Nujood’s age approached her father and asked to marry her.  Feeling that it would be easier on the family since there would be one less mouth to feed, her father agreed, but made Nujood’s husband agree that he wouldn’t “touch” her until she reaches puberty.

Before Nujood knows what happened, she was taken out of school and married to a complete stranger who took her away from her family.  Nujood was miserable in her new home – her husband raped her, her mother-in-law beat her and made her work all the time and she was not allowed to play because that wouldn’t reflect well on the family.  Nujood spent a lot of her time crying and hiding in the corner, so her husband reluctantly agreed to take her home to visit her family.  When she complained about her marriage to her mother, she replied:

“That’s how life is, Nujood: all women must endure this; we have all gone through the same thing.”

Once Nujood, realized she wouldn’t get any help at home, she worked up her courage and went to the courthouse to request a divorce.  The rest, as they say, is history.

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui is the heartbreaking story of Nujood and her family.  Nujood really is quite a brave young lady – she was even named a woman of the year for 2008 by Glamour magazine.  I am always in awe of those who have the inner strength that she does.

At first, I was a little disappointed in I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced because I found the writing to be a little simplistic and felt that the story lacked depth.  The problem though, was with my perception of the book – I thought it was being marketed as an adult book, but then I found this article that says it’s a Young Adult book written at the sixth grade level.  Once I realized that I was looking at the book the wrong way, I came to love it.  This is, after all, a young girl’s story so it’s fitting that she tells it in her own way.

This book is the perfect introduction to women’s rights in the Middle East for the older middle grade and younger YA reader.   I did feel anger and sense of outrage as I read it and I think it will evoke strong emotions in younger readers too.  In all the sadness, though there is a glimmer of hope – Nujood was able to find people to help her and today she is back in school.

Review copy provided by Read it Forward.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.Shop Indie Bookstores

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45 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2010 6:14 am

    I had this one on my radar, but did not realize it was for this age group. Glad u enjoyed it despite that.

  2. May 27, 2010 6:14 am

    The story is really touching…there are many grown women that lacked the courage to get out of similar situations. I think it is an excellent idea to expose teenage girls to how their counterparts live in the Middle East.

  3. May 27, 2010 6:43 am

    This sort of book scare me. They bring tingles on the spine. Just on your review, I agree how brave Nujood is. A girl like me will never have the same bravery.

  4. May 27, 2010 8:01 am

    I remember following this story on television couple of years ago. Its pretty sad that child marriages still do happen in lot of parts of the world but like you mentioned, it is inspiring to know that this girl had thee courage and help from people to stand up for her rights… I didn’t realize this story was out as a book..I shall add this to by TBR list..


  5. May 27, 2010 8:09 am

    I also thought this was an adult book. I wonder if there is a marketing issue the publisher should consider with this one.

  6. May 27, 2010 8:26 am

    This review leaves me speechless. I am so appalled that this goes on in the world today, and yet my attempt at denial is not a proper answer.

  7. May 27, 2010 9:06 am

    I can’t wait to read this book. I also read that it was a YA book, and I think that it’ll fit in perfectly with a mulitcultural lit class I teach. Thanks for the review–I’m glad that you changed your vision of the book in time to appreciate it!

  8. May 27, 2010 10:09 am

    Wonderful review, I would love to read it. I think the writing style is just right like you wrote since she is so young. I have been watching this book. I really liked your feelings about the book. Thanks.

  9. May 27, 2010 10:33 am

    It’s strange, but lately I’ve been wanting to read more non-fiction and this sounds good. I love expanding my horizons. Your review was great!

  10. May 27, 2010 10:43 am

    Wonderful review, Kathy! How unbelievable this story sounds to us, although we know these marriages take place in the Middle East.

  11. May 27, 2010 10:44 am

    This book sounds so very sad, but I do think it’s something I would be interested in reading. I think it would be good for my daughter as well. I am glad that you ended up liking the book!

  12. May 27, 2010 11:09 am

    I am always appalled when I read about such conditions that exist in certain countries with the worst part being the families themselves who “sell” their daughters knowing full well the kind of lives they will have to endure. What a courageous girl to have fought to get out of her situation. Thanks for the review.

  13. May 27, 2010 11:12 am

    I’ve seen this one around but didn’t realize it was for that age group either. It still sounds like it’s worth reading.

  14. May 27, 2010 12:21 pm

    I have been wanting to read this one for awhile. I put it on my Friday Finds a few months back.

    I am sure I have just seen a picture of you at BEA?

  15. May 27, 2010 12:54 pm

    wow! what a story . . .

  16. May 27, 2010 1:20 pm

    Great review! I’ve had similar responses to books upon finding out adults were not supposed to be the target audience.

  17. May 27, 2010 2:26 pm

    I’m so glad you liked this book. I haven’t read it but I think it is a very important book to read.

  18. May 27, 2010 2:26 pm

    I have negative emotions just reading your review of the subject. I can imagine how I’ll feel spending time reading the book. But – it won’t help the cause if I avoid learning about it. I’m glad it’s getting a wide exposure.

  19. May 27, 2010 3:10 pm

    This is a book I must read. I read a news article about her and what she went through. It is so sad!

  20. brendabh permalink
    May 27, 2010 3:12 pm

    This book made me furious. To take a child from her family and marry her this young is outrageous. I know in some cultures girls are used to further the family by selling, or marrying off to have one less mouth to feed but this is a horrible waste of a young girls life. I would love to read this book and I am proud that she stood up and got her divorce. Would love to find out the ending.

  21. May 27, 2010 3:38 pm

    This sounds marvelous. I just hope that the age group that it is written for will be allowed to read it and someone doesn’t decide that it should be banned.

  22. May 27, 2010 5:33 pm

    Sounds like a wonderfully compelling story, and one I’m afraid that I was not familiar with. I will have to rectify that soon. Thank you for the review.

  23. May 27, 2010 7:36 pm

    It just boggles my mind that this can happen to women… well, girls. Sounds like quite a story … it is hard to believe it is non-fiction.

  24. May 27, 2010 8:37 pm

    This sounds like a very enlightening read for my twelve year old niece. I will be ordering it for her thanks to your review. Thanks for the info.

  25. May 27, 2010 9:10 pm

    I’ve been enjoying memoirs lately. I did see this one and i’m glad you reviewed it. I’ll be buying this one soon.

  26. May 28, 2010 7:38 am

    Sounds like an amazing story!

  27. kadybug permalink
    May 28, 2010 12:08 pm

    I have had this on reserve at the library for so long! Hopefully it will come in soon. I’m glad you pointed out it wasn’t marketed as an adult book because I thought it was too.

  28. May 28, 2010 2:18 pm

    What a terrible, terrible thing to happen, and what a brave girl she is.

  29. boardinginmyforties permalink
    May 28, 2010 2:27 pm

    This is such an incredible story and one too common from the articles I’ve read. I’m glad you clarified that it is a YA novel that is written for a younger audience. I think with that expectation about it going in, I will like it.

  30. May 28, 2010 4:15 pm

    Great review. I thought it was an adult book, too! I want to read it, too, and it’s good to know ahead of time who the book is written for!

  31. May 29, 2010 3:19 am

    I can’t imagine life being Nujood… Thanks for the review, Kathy. It’s an incredible story of an amazing young woman.

  32. May 29, 2010 7:33 am

    You caught my attention with this review and the target audience. I’m always interested in bringing important female voices to my students and this one will have to added to our collection!

  33. May 29, 2010 10:14 am

    Thats a great story and its nice in a way that these kind of books are being directed at Young Adults.

  34. May 30, 2010 3:47 am

    Thank you for the great review, Kathy. What a sad and yet hopeful story. I am glad she had the courage to go to that courthouse. I only wish she hadn’t been put in that situation in the first place.

  35. May 30, 2010 12:52 pm

    This sounds like a must read!

  36. May 30, 2010 4:43 pm

    This is already on my TBR – thanks for letting me know this was marketed as a YA and not an adult book, so I’ll read it accordingly!

  37. May 30, 2010 5:00 pm

    This looks interesting, but I’m curious about the target age. Is the rape treated in a way that would be appropriate for a middle school reader?

  38. May 31, 2010 4:54 pm

    I look forward to reading this. I can see how that would change your perspective once you found out it was YA. I had no idea it was YA, but that’s good to know.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  39. June 1, 2010 5:31 pm

    This sounds like such a good story, I’ll have to work on getting a copy. I’m glad you mention it’s a YA book, I’m sure I would have had the same thoughts as you if I hadn’t known that.

  40. stacybuckeye permalink
    June 2, 2010 10:22 am

    This looks amazing! Thanks for the heads up about the reading level.

  41. June 4, 2010 4:12 am

    i’m really looking forward to this book. it sounds very moving.

  42. June 16, 2010 1:29 pm

    Wow. I should get a copy, wait until my daughter is a little older, then encourage her to read it so she knows how good she has it.


  43. Komal permalink
    November 14, 2010 11:35 pm

    I finish reading this book in one day and I am glad it was a happy ending. I just wish the women in her family (nujood’s mother and sister) fought harder to oppose her marriage.They did fight but yes, should have fight harder.Nujood is very forgiving to her family and thts something very hard to do for any normal human.She is an angel

    Yes, Its a must read for everyone.Please read 🙂

    • Jadah permalink
      October 7, 2013 9:01 pm

      your right they didn,t do a thing they said they sorry for her but thats all

  44. Jadah permalink
    October 4, 2013 11:13 am

    I’m a teen girl who thoughts about non-fiction books are to be boring but when i read this i cried tears of sadness and tears of joy i can not imagine going through something as frightful as that to be so forgiving towards her father even though he married her off she is a wonderful girl cause me myself could have not have been that strong to still love my father if he did that to me. I think more people need to read this book to really understand what cruelty REALLY means because what tat monster did to her is real cruelty. To go through something as horrible as that she is a brave strong girl!

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