“I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced” was a book that had me interested in the title and the photo on the biography. It is a fascinating read to see how a girl quickly grew up and got the courage to run away from her abusive husband and seek a divorce. That’s no easy task in Yemen at the time. It’s an easy read that really makes you question marriage and yet gives you hope to see a child actually grow despite everything.
I will admit over the past few years, I’ve become fascinated by the tales of the Arabic world. It’s so closed off in many ways yet so full of culture. I love reading memoirs from the area just so I can get peek inside even though I know I’m not reading a tale that would be typical. Something had to happen that made things come out into the open, either they were exiled, arrested or in this case challenged the law at such a level it drew an international audience.
There are few books that make me go “wow you are amazing” and still make me question the validity of marriage. This was the case where a poor family used the convention of marrying off a young child under the guise of ‘at least she won’t be raped/kidnap by another man’ and in the name of following the footsteps of the prophet’s wife by marrying young. Unfortunately the husband not only failed to not touch her until she reached puberty, he was abusive to her and kept her away from other children. After a while, Nujood knew she had to escape and she got help by going to the court. From there she found people like her lawyer Shada who were sympathetic to her plight and helped her seek her freedom. Throughout the book you see how she grew up and learned a lot not only about herself but her family as a whole yet deep down she can still be a child by always wanting to color. She has a sense about her where you can tell if given the right opportunity she will thrive and make a mark on the world. Already she’s helped two other young girls escape from marriages that were too similar to her and helped break the ground for a 9 year old to escape from her marriage in Saudi Arabia.
I loved this book. I was so hopeful. Then I read the epilogue. Unfortunately there was a period where she pulled of school. But with the help of the book royalties, she and her sister are attending school once more. She still has the goal to be a lawyers.
I do wish this book was more oomph to it. But it’s hard to get that kind of oomph to from a child who is so young. She's simply too young. But the writing is well done and I’m sure that’s in major part to Delphine Minoui help (her co-writer) since Nujood has attended very little school.
I would recommend highly recommend this book for people looking for a quick read that will enlighten, disgust and give you hope all at the same time.