Ali, Nujood with Minou, Delphine. I am Nujood: Age 10 and Divorced
March 2nd 2010 by Crown Publishing Group / Three Rivers Press
I found a copy of this book in our donations from a local Half Price Books right after I saw it mentioned on Becky's Book Reviews. Since Becky and I have similar taste in books, I knew I had to read it!
Based on a true story. 10-year-old Nujood has a difficult family life in strife-ravaged Yemen, so when her father gets an offer from a 30-year-old man to marry the girl, he agrees, as long as the man promises not to consummate the marriage until she is older. He promises, but doesn't keep his promise. Not only that, but once Nujood goes to live with her in laws, her husband becomes abusive. She eventually runs away and seeks the help of judge. She is taken in, cared for, and lives the life of a child for the first time. She is eventually granted a divorce, although her family feels this brings shame on them.
Strengths: This had a lot of good descriptions of daily life in Yemen, and gives interesting insight into family dynamics in a country where there are lots of problems. Since Nujood does get help, it is a hopeful book. The issue of rape is addressed in a way that this could be given to a 10-year-old without revealing any life secrets. This would be a good companion volume to Whelan's Homeless Bird or Ellis' The Breadwinner.
Weaknesses: Perhaps because this is translated from the French, the voice seemed very detached. Also, I found that I wanted a lot more background information about a wide range of topics to help me understand what Nujood was experiencing.
What I really think: While this is an important topic, I don't know that the book gave enough information to help middle grade readers really understand the situation. I'm looking for more books like One Half From the East that really explain life in other countries.