Tag Archive | PG

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali and Delphine Minoui

6818019Overview: Forced by her father to marry a man three times her age, young Nujood Ali was sent away from her parents and beloved sisters and made to live with her husband and his family in an isolated village in rural Yemen. There she suffered daily from physical and emotional abuse by her mother-in-law and nightly at the rough hands of her spouse. Flouting his oath to wait to have sexual relations with Nujood until she was no longer a child, he took her virginity on their wedding night. She was only ten years old.

Unable to endure the pain and distress any longer, Nujood fled—not for home, but to the courthouse of the capital, paying for a taxi ride with a few precious coins of bread money. When a renowned Yemeni lawyer heard about the young victim, she took on Nujood’s case and fought the archaic system in a country where almost half the girls are married while still under the legal age. Since their unprecedented victory in April 2008, Nujood’s courageous defiance of both Yemeni customs and her own family has attracted a storm of international attention. Her story even incited change in Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries, where underage marriage laws are being increasingly enforced and other child brides have been granted divorces.

My thoughts: Nujood’s family is plagued by problems, and some of those problems are poverty and the fear of adultery. To counter these issues, Nujood’s Aba decides to marry her to a 30-year-old man, whom promises to wait until she hits puberty to consummate the union. That man doesn’t keep his promises, and Nujood is left with nightmares, bruises, and anguish.

This book delves further than just Nujood’s terrifying marriage, it also follows up with her siblings’ struggles. It’s interesting how the book gives you an idea of other problems Yemen has, like trafficking, poverty, lack of education, early marriages, and so on. I know now more about Yemen than I did before.

I think the book is very good at depicting some of the problems, like poverty, but it doesn’t fully explain village customs or why those themes matter. As a non-Muslim reading this book, I don’t understand how honor works in Islam, and this book fails to put Islamic practices into perspective for others.

The book does provide notes at the end of the story, and so some things are explained further. I think it’s cool how links are provided in the text to the notes at the back of the kindle edition, but then you can’t get back to the section you were reading in the story unless you scroll back or jump there by entering the page or location number.

The biggest problem I have with this story is that there seems to be two narrators, and their voices don’t converge even though Nujood is the only one telling the story. On one hand, there’s ten-year-old Nujood, and then there seems to be a more mature educated Nujood. Maybe it’s a translation issue, but for a 10-year-old girl who’s barely literate, there are too many larger words and too many complex sentences. Maybe Nujood really does speak that way, but it doesn’t logically make sense to me. I think the journalist had more to do with the writing than Nujood did. The journalist tries to see things from Nujood’s 10-year-old girls, but then switches back to her older eyes. It causes the writing to seem jagged in some areas.

I borrowed this book from the library and read it on my kindle.

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The Amulet by Alison Pensy

Overview from Goodreads: To seventeen-year-old Faedra, faeries were nothing more than the figurines she collected and displayed in her curio cabinet. She was in for the surprise of her life.

Faedra had no idea that faeries controlled nature, and with a book no less. Nor did she know that her descendants had protected an ancient fae amulet for thousands of years. An amulet that if ever was reunited with the book would give the wearer power to control the weather, too. She didn’t know all this because the one person to teach her died when she was just six years old. Well, now it was time for her to find out…

A letter from the grave reveals her true identity the day of her eighteenth birthday. But she barely has time to digest the revelation when she is plunged into a fight for her life and that of mankind.

My thoughts: Honestly, I’d give this book more of a 3.5. I really enjoyed reading it, but there were a few things that confused me.

Let’s begin with the impossible actions. There are a few scenes that seems impossible to me. The action described defies the basic laws of physics. I recognize that they’re in another world with magic, so it’s possible for unrealistic things to happen. However, the skeptic in my just doesn’t agree with the possibility of defying the laws of nature in a book that’s not science fiction.

I do like the main character Faedra. Her “goody-two-shoes” personality appeals to me because sweet main characters aren’t too common lately. The author does a good job of creating a character that is nice and usually follows the rules but still has quirks that makes her interesting. The one thing I don’t like about Faedra is that sometimes she seems like Kristen Stewart, except with four emotions instead of one. She’s also easily impressed and usually dropping her jaw.

There are some instances in which Faen acts out of character. It could be because Faen is guarding himself well and only let’s his real personality out occasionally, but sometimes I just don’t understand why Faen acts out of character, especially later in the book when developing his relationship with Faedra. I like their relationship and friendship, and I think it adds a great element to the book. However, their relationship seems awkward at first, and my reaction to their relationship climax was, “What the heck did I just read?!” I think the climax could’ve been orchestrated better and not seem so force.

Plot wise, I love the twists and turns. It’s not just like any other faerie/fairy story out there.  I love love how Faedra’s mother plays into this story. The mysterious mother keeps my attention, and I hope there’s more information about her in later books. I like how she purposely laid out Faedra’s task yet still left questions for Faedra to solve, allowing Faedra to grow on her own.

One other thing that bugs me is Faedra’s interactions with her family. Maybe the British act differently than Americans, but Faedra’s relationship with her father, uncle, and aunt just seem so casual. She doesn’t address Uncle Leo’s wife as “Aunt Nicki.” It’s just Nicki. To me, this is completely disrespectful. She also treats the older people in her family more like friends than family, and it just baffles me. However, I realize that all families are different, and that I should appreciate this book showing me a different style of family. It’s just very different from my own.

There’s lots of description, and some of it is chunky. It makes the book a bit hard to slug through at times. That’s the main easy I didn’t rate this book as a 4. Description can be a good thing, and sometimes it’s well used in this book. However, if some of it was subtracted or made more concise, the book wouldn’t have lost its meaning.

Also, just for kicks, since the author grew up in England, she uses lots of British terms. I learned some new words from this book. Yay, learning experiences!

I found this book for free on Amazon and downloaded it to my Kindle.

Blue Exorcist, Vol. 1 by Kazue Kato

Overview: Raised by Father Fujimoto, a famous exorcist, Rin Okumura never knew his real father. One day a fateful argument with Father Fujimoto forces Rin to face a terrible truth – the blood of the demon lord Satan runs in Rin’s veins! Rin swears to defeat Satan, but doing that means entering the mysterious True Cross Academy and becoming an exorcist himself. Can Rin fight demons and keep his infernal bloodline a secret? It won’t be easy, especially when drawing his father’s sword releases the demonic power within him!

My thoughts: I’m usually a sucker for exorcists and demons in manga. It’s why I enjoy Bleach and D. Gray Man. Blue Exorcist puts a spin on the exorcist part and has a demon exorcising demons. This volume takes a long time to develop, but the hidden secrets of characters can keep readers interested. The supporting characters have just as much beef to them as the main character. In particular, Rin’s brother’s secrets are explored in this volume, and the main character’s secrets are merely touched on. It seems he doesn’t know much about himself right now. Unfortunately, just as the plot is unfolding and the reader learns more about the characters, the volume ends. It’s a bit disappointing. This series has a lot of potential. I hope the next volume is better, though. I really like the premise of this story. It’d be better if it moved a bit faster, but I’ll find out if it goes faster once I read the next volume.

Besides that, the art is very nice with great facial expressions. The mangaka is very good at drawing details. I’m really looking forward to the next volume once I can buy it.

I found this volume for about $8 at Books-A-Million with the member’s card discount.