I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Nujood’s story was appalling because it brings to light the cultural practice of marrying young girls to much older men in Yemen. Nujood was a young ten year old who loved her family, playing with friends and didn’t have many cares in her daily life. All that changes when her father who is not working, just sitting around chewing khat and getting high on sucking the leaves of this plant, pledges Nujood in marriage to a much older man. Nujood is not afraid leading up to the wedding since she knows nothing about what will transpire. It is that night, where she is pounced upon by her husband, she runs around the room, escapes the room and calls for help throughout the strange rooms (no one comes to her aid) until she is dragged back into the room and raped her(he promised her father he would leave Nujood alone until she reached puberty). Nujood is traumatized by this man every evening; beaten, hit with sticks and cursed at; until she is raped again and again. It is after months of pleading that Nujood persuades her husband to take her home for a visit with her family. When she is alone with her parents and brother and tells them what he is doing to her and to let her come home; her father, mother and brother all tell her she must stay with him because she is honor bound. It is when she pretends to go to a bakery and instead goes into the judicial district (recommended by her father’s second wife who lives as a beggar in squalor) and seeks a divorce. Nujood has 2 judges and a female lawyer who decide to protect her (they put both father and husband in jail) and grant her a divorce. Nujood becomes an example of the pain inflicted on young women in this culture, but she becomes a role model to many similar girls throughout the world. I loved Nujood’s voice, her fierce personality that would not settle for a life of trauma with a much older violent man just because it is the way Yemen women have been treated. The worldwide response to her plight and the many interviews she granted after the divorce also allowed her to return to school with her sister. But this book only shows how many other girls suffer and makes it a difficult read for the many girls throughout who are being sold as young as ten into a slave-marriage.
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