Saturday, July 30, 2011

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced is the easy-to-read memoir of a remarkable little Yemeni girl, Nujood Ali, who was both married and divorced before she was 11 years old.

10-year-old Nujood had just started her second year of school when her father announced he’d accepted an acquaintance’s request to marry her.

“One less mouth to feed,” Nujood heard her father tell her mother. Besides, the 30-year-old husband had promised “not to touch” Nujood until she was older.

Yemen’s vague child-marriage laws permitted the marriage and their religion seemed to encourage it. Two weeks later, the men of both families got together and signed the papers.

Immediately, Nujood's husband broke his promise “not to touch” her, and he beat her every night to make her comply. She cried to his family for help, but her mother-in-law only told her son to beat Nujood harder.

The story might stay there – as it does for many child brides around the world.
But Nujood is no ordinary little girl. How she fought for – and won -- a divorce is astonishing and inspiring.

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced will open your eyes to the prevalence and horror of child marriages in so many parts of the world, but it will do more than that.
The courage of this one little girl, and the kindness and conviction of the adults who helped her, will also give you hope: when we perform simple acts of bravery and kindness for those who are vulnerable, we truly can change our world.
By Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui, published by Three Rivers Press, New York.

-- Reenie


  1. This book is extremely touching and inspiring, but one must keep in mind that it was written from the story told by a child. That being the case, it is a little simplistic in it's expression, and it offers limited depth. This, however, becomes one of the book's charms, as readers gain the sense that Nujood herself is telling her story over a cup of tea.

  2. Hi UK,
    I hadn't thought of it that way, but I totally agree -- the simplicity of this book is one of its charms. If it were told from an adult's perspective -- even by a grown-up Nujood -- it would have lost much of its power, I think. Its bare description of the situation and events gives it a unique heart-appeal.
    -- Reenie