I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced

3.7 470
by Nujood Ali, Delphine Minoui

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“I’m a simple village girl who has always obeyed the orders of my father and brothers. Since forever, I have learned to say yes to everything. Today I have decided to say no.”
Nujood Ali's childhood came to an abrupt end in 2008 when her father arranged for her to be married to a man three times her age. With harrowing directness,…  See more details below


“I’m a simple village girl who has always obeyed the orders of my father and brothers. Since forever, I have learned to say yes to everything. Today I have decided to say no.”
Nujood Ali's childhood came to an abrupt end in 2008 when her father arranged for her to be married to a man three times her age. With harrowing directness, Nujood tells of abuse at her husband's hands and of her daring escape. With the help of local advocates and the press, Nujood obtained her freedom—an extraordinary achievement in Yemen, where almost half of all girls are married under the legal age. Nujood's courageous defiance of both Yemeni customs and her own family has inspired other young girls in the Middle East to challenge their marriages. Hers is an unforgettable story of tragedy, triumph, and courage.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Isobel Coleman
…a shocking book that captures the social challenges facing Yemen better than any scholarly work could hope to do.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Headlines traveled around the globe in the spring of 2008 when the barely 10-year-old Nujood Ali “found the courage to knock on the [Yemen] courtroom door”; she had come seeking a divorce from the sexually abusive and violent 30-ish man, a marriage arranged by her father. French journalist Minoui renders Ali's life from the young child's perspective without sensationalism, as respectful of Ali's faith as affected by her courage. Through her unwavering focus on Ali's young life and her big victory, on her pre-pubescent innocence and ignorance, the reader is taken inside one poor, recently rural Yemeni household. As Ali's life (“I have always obeyed the orders of my father and brothers”) moves into the public sphere, she discovers (fortunately) the compassionate judges and the dedicated lawyer of a more urbane Yemen. Simple and straightforward in its telling, this is an informative and thoroughly engaging narrative—making more painful a disquieting sense as the book ends that Ali's big victory offers the promise of change to other young girls but no true restoration of her girlhood; she's about 12 now. (Mar.)
People Magazine
One of 16 children living in squalor in Yemen, Nujood was married off at about age 10. Though her husband vowed he'd wait for sex until she reached puberty, he rapes her on their first night together. After months of abuse, Nujood goes to the courthouse, where with heartbreaking naiveté, she tells a judge she wants a divorce. Supported by the legal system, Nujood gets her wish. A dividend: Her case has brought international exposure to the archaic practice of robbing girls of their youth—half the girls in Yemen are married before age 18. Nujood's story ends with her back in school, given a rare second chance to start her childhood over. – S.C.
Library Journal
This slim book tells the story of a Yemeni girl married off at a young age (her exact age is unknown, but she was by all accounts still a child) who dared to resist. Raped and beaten by her husband, she did the unheard of: she found her way to a courthouse and insisted on a divorce. Luckily, she was brought to the right people who chose to protect and defend her. Her story is told in simple prose without excess exposition or cultural color. Aspects of her family's difficult social situation are touched on without elaboration, perhaps to protect their honor or perhaps because these were matters that the little girl herself did not understand. The result is heartfelt, as naive as one would expect of an illiterate child relying only on her own drive for self-preservation. VERDICT This will be a favorite book club read. It is too slight to serve most college-level women's studies classes, however, unless paired with more substantial interpretations of the social conditions in Yemen.—Lisa Klopfer, Eastern Michigan Univ. Lib., Ypsilanti
Kirkus Reviews
With the assistance of Middle East journalist Minoui, Ali tells the disturbing story of her marriage and subsequent divorce-all by the age of ten. The narrative will be shocking to many Westerners-a young Yemeni girl from a poor family, married off at the age of ten to a man three times her age. Even though the marriage contract stipulated that the husband not consummate the marriage until Ali had reached puberty, the young girl was repeatedly raped and beaten. Steadfastly refusing to accept her horrible fate, a fate that many others had suffered before her, Ali took advantage of a visit to her family in the city to bring her situation before a judge. It's illegal in Yemen to marry off a child before the age of 15, but the young girl still faced an uphill battle, defying not just her husband and father but her society. The unimaginably awful story is told in the voice of the girl, simply and clearly. To read of such distressing events described with the language and understanding of a ten-year-old heightens the impact of the story, but some readers will notice the lack of perspective, since the storyteller is not yet old enough to have it. However, this does nothing to undermine the extraordinary bravery of such a young child in the face of exceedingly adult circumstances. Despite the stylistic simplicity, this memoir will move readers.
From the Publisher
“A powerful new autobiography...It’s hard to imagine that there have been many younger divorcées—or braver ones—than a pint-size third grader named Nujood Ali.”
—Nicholas Kristof, New York Times

“Shocking...captures the social challenges facing Yemen better than any scholarly work could hope to do.”
—Washington Post

“Her case has brought international exposure to the archaic practice of robbing girls of their youth.”
People (Four Stars)

“An international icon of tenacity and courage.”
New Yorker

“One of the greatest women I have ever seen . . . She set an example with her courage.”
—Hillary Clinton
“This book took my breath away. It broke my heart but put it back together again with a renewed hope in the staggering power of the human spirit. What Nujood did to save her life was a miracle; that she did it as a ten-year-old child is, quite simply, astounding.”
—Carolyn Jessop, author of Escape and Triumph

“Nujood and all other girls like her who are traded like objects deserve to be heard. This important book gives them a voice and sheds light on an ugly secret that has destroyed the lives of children for centuries.”
—Marina Nemat, author of Prisoner of Tehran

“Simple and straightforward in its telling, this is an informative and thoroughly engaging narrative.”
Publishers Weekly

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Nujood, a Modern-Day Heroine

Once upon a time there was a magical land with legends as astonishing as its houses, which are adorned with such delicate tracery that they look like gingerbread cottages trimmed with icing. A land at the southernmost tip of the Arabian Peninsula, washed by the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. A land steeped in a thousand years of history, where adobe turrets perch on the peaks of serried mountains. A land where the scent of incense wafts gaily around the corners of the narrow cobblestone streets.

This country is called Yemen.

But a very long time ago, grown- ups gave it another name: Arabia Felix, Happy Arabia.

For Yemen inspires dreams. It is the realm of the Queen of Sheba, an incredibly strong and beautiful woman who inflamed the heart of King Solomon and left her mark in the sacred pages of the Bible and the Koran. It is a mysterious place where men never appear in public without curved daggers worn proudly at their waists, while women hide their charms behind thick black veils.

It is a land that lies along an ancient trade route, a country crossed by merchant caravans laden with fine fabrics, cinnamon, and other aromatic spices. These caravans journeyed on for weeks, sometimes months, never stopping, persevering through wind and rain, and the weakest travelers, the stories say, never came home again.

To see Yemen in your mind’s eye, imagine a country a little larger than Syria, Greece, and Nepal all rolled into one, and diving headlong into the Gulf of Aden. Out there, in those tempestuous seas, pirates from many lands lie in wait for merchant ships plying their trades in India, Africa, Europe, and America.

In centuries past, many invaders succumbed to the temptation to claim this lovely land for themselves. Ethiopians came ashore armed with their bows and arrows, but were swiftly driven away. Next came the Persians, with their bushy eyebrows, who constructed canals and fortresses and recruited various native tribes to fight off other invaders. The Portuguese then tried their luck, and set up trading outposts. The Ottomans, who later took up the challenge, held sway in the country for more than a hundred years.

Still later, the British, with their white skin, put into port in the south, in Aden, while the Turks set up shop in the north. And then, once the English were gone, Russians from colder climes set their sights upon the south. Like a cake fought over by greedy children, the country gradually split in two.

Grown- ups say that this Arabia Felix has always been the object of envious desire because of its thousand and one treasures. Foreigners covet its oil; its honey is worth its weight in gold; the music of Yemen is captivating, its poetry gentle and refined, its spicy cuisine endlessly pleasing. From around the world, archeologists come to this country to study the architecture of its ruins.

It has been years and years now since the invaders packed up their bags and left, but ever since their departure,
Yemen has experienced a series of civil wars too complicated for the pages of children’s books. Unified in 1990, the nation still suffers from the wounds left by these many conflicts, like a sick old man, trying to get well, who has lost his bearings and must learn to walk again. Sometimes you even wonder who makes the law in this strange land,
where many girls and boys beg in the streets instead of going to school.

Yemen’s head of state is a president whose photograph often decorates the display windows of shops, but power in this country lies also with tribal chiefs in turbans who wield enormous authority in the villages, whether it’s a question of arms sales, marriage, or the commerce and culture of khat. Then there are those explosions in the capital, Sana’a, in the chic neighborhoods where the diplomatic representatives of foreign nations live, people who drive big cars with tinted windows. And in Yemeni homes, of course, the real law is laid down by fathers and older brothers.

It was in this extraordinary and turbulent country, barely ten years ago, that a little girl named Nujood was born.

A tiny wisp of a thing, Nujood is neither a queen nor a princess. She is a normal girl with parents and plenty of brothers and sisters. Like all children her age, she loves to play hide-and-seek and adores chocolate. She likes to make colored drawings and fantasizes about being a sea turtle, because she has never seen the ocean. When she smiles, a tiny dimple appears in her left cheek.

One cold and gray February evening in 2008, however, that appealing and mischievous grin suddenly melted into bitter tears when her father told her that she was going to wed a man three times her age. It was as if the whole world had landed on her shoulders. Hastily married off a few days later, the little girl resolved to gather all her strength and try to escape her miserable fate. . . .

In Court
April 2, 2008

My head is spinning—I’ve never seen so many people in my whole life. In the yard outside the courthouse, a crowd is bustling around in every direction: men in suits and ties with bunches of yellowed files tucked under their arms; other men wearing the zanna, the traditional ankle- length tunic of the villages of northern Yemen; and then all these women, shouting and weeping so loudly that I can’t understand a word.

I’d love to read their lips to find out what they’re saying, but the niqabs that match their long black robes hide everything except their big, round eyes. The women seem furious, as if a tornado had just destroyed their houses. I try to listen closely. I can catch only a few words—childcare, justice, human rights—and I’m not really sure what they mean. Not far away from me is a broad- shouldered giant wearing his turban jammed down to his eyes; he’s carrying a plastic bag full of documents and telling anyone who will listen that he has come here to try to get back some land that was stolen from him. He’s dashing around like a frantic rabbit, and he almost runs right into me.

What chaos . . . It must be like Al-Qa Square, the one in the heart of Sana’a where out-of-work laborers go, the place Aba—Papa—often talks about. There it’s every man for himself, and they all want to be the first to snag a job for the day at dawn, just after the first azaan, the traditional summons to prayer called out five times a day by the muezzins from the minarets of their mosques. Poor people are so hungry they’ve got stones where their hearts should be, and no time to feel pity for the fates of others. Still, I’d like so much for someone here to take my hand, to look at me with kindness. Won’t anyone listen to me, for once? It’s as if I were invisible. No one sees me: I’m too small for them; I barely come up to their tummies. I’m only ten years old, maybe not even that. Who knows?

I’d imagined the courthouse differently: a calm, clean place, the great house where Good battles Evil, where you can fix all the problems of the world.

I’d already seen some courtrooms on my neighbors’ television, with judges in long robes. People say they’re the ones who can help people in need. So I have to find one and tell him my story. I’m exhausted. It’s hot under my veil, I have a headache, and I’m so ashamed. . . . Am I strong enough to keep going?

No. Yes. Maybe. . . . I tell myself it’s too late to turn back; the hardest part is over, and I have to go on.

When I left my parents’ house early this morning, I promised myself not to set foot there again until I’d gotten what I wanted.

“Off you go—buy some bread for breakfast,” my mother told me, giving me 150 Yemeni rials, worth about 75 cents.

As a matter of course, I pinned up my long, curly brown hair under my black head scarf and covered my body with a black coat, which is what all Yemeni women wear out in public. Trembling, feeling faint, I walked only a short way before catching the first minibus that passed along the wide avenue leading into town, where I got off at the end of the line.

Then, in spite of my fear, for the first time in my life I climbed all alone into a yellow taxi. Now this endless waiting in the courtyard. To whom should I speak? Unexpectedly, over by the steps leading up to the entrance hall of the big concrete building, I spot what look like a few friendly faces in the crowd: their cheeks dark with dust, three boys in plastic sandals are studying me carefully. They remind me of my little brothers.

“Your weight, ten rials!” one of them calls out to me, shaking a battered old scale.

“Some refreshing tea?” asks another, holding up a small basket full of steaming glasses.

“Fresh carrot juice?” suggests the third boy, breaking into his nicest smile as he stretches out his right hand in the hope of earning a small coin.

No thanks, I’m not thirsty, and what’s on my mind has nothing to do with how much I weigh. If they only knew what brings me here . . .

Bewildered, helpless, I look up again into the faces of the many grown- ups hurrying past me. In their long veils, the women all look the same. What kind of a mess have I gotten myself into?

Then I notice a man in a white shirt and black suit walking toward me. A judge, perhaps, or a lawyer? Well, it’s an opportunity, so here goes.

“Excuse me, mister, I want to see the judge.”

“The judge? Over that way, up the steps,” he replies, with hardly a glance at me, before vanishing back into the throng.

I have no choice anymore: I must tackle the staircase now looming before me; it’s my last and only chance to get help. I feel dirty and ashamed, but I have to climb these steps, one by one, to go tell my story, to wade through this human flood that grows even bigger the closer I get to the vast entrance hall.

I almost fall down, but I catch myself. I’ve cried so much that my eyes are dry. I’m tired. My feet feel like lead when I finally step onto the marble floor.

But I mustn’t collapse, not now.

On the white walls, like the ones in a hospital, I can see writing in Arabic, but no matter how I try, I can’t manage to read the inscriptions. I was forced to leave school during my second year, right before my life became a nightmare, and aside from my first name, Nujood, I can’t write much, which really embarrasses me.

Looking around, I spy a group of men in olivegreen uniforms and kepis. They must be policemen, or else soldiers; one of them has a Kalashnikov slung over his shoulder. I’m shaking—if they see me, they might arrest me. A little girl running away from home, that just isn’t done. Trembling, I discreetly latch on to the first passing veil, hoping to get the attention of the unknown woman it conceals. A tiny voice inside me whispers, Go on, Nujood! It’s true you’re only a girl, but you’re also a woman, and a real one, even though you’re still having trouble accepting that.

“I want to talk to the judge.”

Two big eyes framed in black stare at me in surprise; the lady in front of me hadn’t seen me approach her.


“I want to talk to the judge.”

Is she not understanding me on purpose, so she can ignore me more easily, like the others?

“Which judge are you looking for?”

“I just want to speak to a judge, that’s all!”

“But there are lots of judges in this courthouse.”

“Take me to a judge—it doesn’t matter which one!”

She stares at me in silence, astonished by my determination.

Unless it’s my shrill little cry that has frozen her solid.

I’m a simple village girl whose family had to move to the capital, and I have always obeyed the orders of my father and brothers. Since forever, I have learned to say yes to everything. Today I have decided to say no.

Inside of me I have been soiled, contaminated—it’s as if part of myself has been stolen from me. No one has the right to keep me from seeking justice.

It’s my last chance, so I’m not going to give up easily. And this surprised stare, which feels as cold as the marble of the great hall where my cry now echoes strangely, will not make me keep quiet. It’s almost noon; I’ve been wandering desperately in this labyrinth of a courthouse for hours. I want to see the judge!

“Follow me,” the woman finally says, gesturing for me to walk along behind her.

The door opens onto a room with brown carpeting. It’s full of people, and at the far end, behind a desk, a thin-faced man with a mustache busily replies to the barrage of questions coming at him from all directions.

It’s the judge, at last.

The atmosphere is noisy, but reassuring. I feel safe. I recognize, in a place of honor on a wall, a framed photograph of Amm Ali, “Uncle Ali”: that’s what I’ve been taught in school to call the president of our country, Ali Abdullah al- Saleh, who was elected more than thirty years ago.

Outside, the muezzin issues the midday call to prayer as I sit down, like everyone else, in one of the brown armchairs lined up along the wall. Around meI catch glimpses of familiar faces—or, rather, familiar eyes—from the angry crowd in the courtyard. Certain faces lean toward me in a strange way. They’ve finally realized that I exist! It’s about time. Comforted, I rest my head against the back of the chair and patiently await my turn.

If God exists, I say to myself, then let Him come save me. I have always recited the five required daily prayers. During Eid al- Fitr, when we celebrate the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, I dutifully help my mother and sisters with all the cooking. I’m basically a very good girl. Oh, God, have pity on me! My mind is dizzy with images that come and go. . . . I’m swimming; the sea is calm. Then the water becomes choppy. I catch sight of my brother Fares off in the distance, but I can’t go to him. When I call to him, he doesn’t hear me, so I begin shouting his name. Then gusts of wind blow me backward toward the shore. I struggle, whirling my hands around like propellers—I’m not going to let myself be driven all the way back to where I started, but I’m so close to the shore now, and I’ve lost sight of Fares. . . . Help! I don’t want to go back to Khardji, no, I don’t want to go back there!
“And what can I do for you?”

A man’s voice rouses me from my dozing. It is a curiously gentle voice, with no need to be loud to attract my attention, simply whispering a few words: “And what can I do for you?” At last someone has come to my rescue. I rub my face and recognize, standing tall there in front of me, the judge with the mustache. The crowd has gone, the eyes have disappeared, and the room is almost empty. I have not replied, so the man tries again.

“What do you want?”

This time I answer promptly.

“I want a divorce!”

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 470 reviews.
Benz1966 More than 1 year ago
I was hesitant about giving this book a rating - because I can't really say that I enjoyed it. There are a few things I appreciated about it. I appreciated it's short, to-the-point length. Any more and I don't know that I could have handled it. I appreciated that the book focused so intently on rehabilitation and didn't feel the need to go into massive amounts of detail with regards to Nujood's circumstances and the horror she dealt with. This is an important book. It's written in a way that really brings out the confused girl-woman's voice from Nujood. She's 10 years old - a child, but the things she talks about should never have had to come out of a child's mouth. Important book and one that should be read. Talk about this book, get people reading it. I intend to.
skstiles612 More than 1 year ago
Let me start this off by saying that this was the first e-book that I bought for my new Nook. I had decided after a year of debating and researching to purchase a book with end of school year bonus money. My husband purchased it for an anniversary gift May 7th. A fellow teacher had recommended this book that she had read on her Nook. I am so glad I listened to her. Nujood was a victim of an age old practice of arranged marriages. Yemen law and local customs allows for the abuse of women every year. Never have I heard a story of one so young with the guts to stand up for what she believed should be her rights. She took risks that could have cost her very own life. Nujood's father has two wives eventhough he can't really afford either family. When things start to get financially worse for him he agrees to an arragned marriage for Nujood to a man who is three times older than her. The father makes the groom to be promise not to consummate the marriage until after at least a year after her first period. Nujood is removed from her home, married off against her will and taken to live in her old, isolated village away from everyone she knows. On her first night her new husband breaks his promise and rapes her. It seems the more she fights him the more he takes pleasure in raping and beating her. She gets no sympathy from her mother-in-law who encourages her son to beat her all the more. After visiting her father's second wife she is given advice that will give her the courage to save herself. She finds the courage to make it to the courthouse and find a judge and demand a divorce. Shocked by her age and the hardships she has endured he goes against Sharia law and sets her on the path to her freedom. There were sections that made me angry and sections that made me cry. No child should have to be forced into a life like that. Her bravery has gone a long way to change things in Yemen. This is not a battle that will be won easily or quickly. I would recommend this book to all adults. It makes me happy that I am an American an that we have laws to protect our children from things like this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is a quick, easy read. I don't doubt the authenticity of Nujood's story, just some of the emotions and feelings expressed in the book. What had me start doubting whether or not the words and feelings truly belong to Nujood is when the book uses the word microscopic after stating that Nujood hasn't even completed her second year of schooling. If she's barely gotten through two years of schooling, there's no way she knows what a microscope is, and I doubted that this was a word that she would use. So if this is the author's word and not hers, what other words, feelings and descriptions did the author put in for dramatic effect? It's a very timely story that needs to be told, especially since a 13 year-old Yemeni child bride recently died. I don't regret reading the book, I just wish I wasn't left with these doubts as to how much of the story is really Nujood's.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a very good read and empowering of this brave little girl. I think that this would be a great read for pre-teen/teen girls to read. Teaching girls that they should stand up for what they believe in. I enjoy little Nujood story and foun it to be very touching. To think that things like this happen out there. Really teachings people about what is going on in the world outside of your own bubble.
s23 More than 1 year ago
This book is amaizing. I am presently studiying for a Master's in Mental Health and my ultimate goal is working with Children who have been abused. In almost all female cases we will be dealing with physical abuse. It is good to know that Nujood is a typical girl that can over come some great difficulties that some of us may never face.
AnaMardoll More than 1 year ago
I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced / 978-0-307-58968-2 If you only read one book this year, this is the book you should read. Heart-rending, this swift novel covers the young life of Nujood Ali, as she is pressed into marriage at a heart-breakingly young age and her new husband makes (and immediately breaks) the traditional-yet-meaningless (to him) vow that he will not consummate the wedding until she is old enough. Although I am familiar with many biographies of women hurt and abused at an early age (only recently I read "Escape" and "Stolen Innocence"), I was hesitant to read this novel, if only because I was afraid to face the hurt and pain inflicted on this sweet girl with such an open, trusting face. I knew this was something that I had to read, however, and I was thrilled to see that Nujood has done the impossible - she has told her sad and horrifying tale in such a way that hope is able to shine through every facet of her tale. "I am Nujood" opens with this extraordinary young woman on the steps of the courthouse, and I was surprised to tears of gratitude when the judges promise, immediately and without reservation, to do whatever they can in order to help her. From there, it is a long struggle to Nujood's freedom - both for her lawyer and judges, who must work through the various legal technicalities, and for the reader, who is introduced to the backstory of abuse behind all this - but the fact that the strangers around her care for Nujood, and work diligently, intelligently, and tirelessly to protect her, all this human goodness makes the ugly story of Nujood's abuse slightly more bearable, because the reader can hold on to the knowledge that, somehow, everything will be alright in the end. The epilogue for this extraordinary book states that, "The royalties from Nujood's book...have already begun helping finance the girls' schooling and contributing to the support of the family, paying for food, rent, school supplied, and clothing for the children. Later, the money will help Nujood pursue her desire to become a lawyer and to establish a foundation to assist young girls in difficulties." So often I read stories of victimized young women and wonder what, if anything, I can do to help. I am humbled and grateful that at least in this one small way - by purchasing this phenomenal, touching story of a young girl's bravery - I can help a tiny bit. I own both this e-book version and the paperback version of this wonderful book. The e-book version is just as crisp and clear as the paperback; the formatting is clear, and the in-text terms that might confuse the reader are highlighted with a convenient quick link to the glossary at the end of the book. The text resizes cleanly, and the font is clear and easy to read. I highly recommend this e-book version as well as the book as a whole. ~ Ana Mardoll
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good easy read and very educating but i love the fact that by purchasing this book i am helping Nujood
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very inspiring short read.
ishine More than 1 year ago
The topics discussed are troubling, but the story tell us why Americans are fortunate not to be forced into traditions that enslave girls.
DraMommy More than 1 year ago
I could not put my nook down as i was reading the book. It saddens me we are in 2010 and there are people in the world whom could do such a thing. Nujood is a 10(although she is unsure what her true age is) and gets forced to marry a man whom rapes and beats her. She seeks help from her parents without sucess and thankfully to his father's other wife is suggested to go to the courthouse to obtain a divorce. I enjoy her descriptions on how she was a happy child and how much love she received from her family. Her family has many misfortunes including her sisters ending up having the same fate as Nujood. It angers me that people are so blinded by religion. I'm not religious and this just affirms my believe that religion does not guarantee you to be a good person. You live by your actions, not in what God you may believe. Recommend this reading and hope the proceeds from this inspirational book is helping little Nujood to reach her dreams to become a lawyer.
Luv2Garden More than 1 year ago
What an amazing little girl she is truly an inspiration to all little girls. It is utterly sickening that we live in the 21st century and this is happening to children. I understand that it is their culture but they are only children. I thought that it was touching and it just broke my heart to hear what Nujood endured. That she even had the strength to go on and fight back for what she knew was wrong.
thewanderingjew More than 1 year ago
I Am Nujood In Yemen, a country described by one of the authors as remote and picturesque, we meet Nujood Ali. She lives in abject poverty, in backward conditions, without running water, electricity or creature comforts. Yet, she is happy with her simple life. When a matter of honor brings shame upon her family and there is no money for food or rent, her father marries her off to a man 30 years her senior and her nightmare begins. She is only ten years old. A promise is made to respect her and not consummate the marriage until a year after her first menses. She is ripped from her life and taken to her childhood home town, a very inaccessible place, where her new husband still lives, and, in an unspeakable act of cruelty, he comes to the marriage bed and does not honor his pledge to abstain. As time passes and Nujood is not a willing participant, he beats her. The poor child did not know what to expect and was totally unprepared for the abuse she experienced in her new family. She is overworked and mistreated. This story is about her marriage and eventual escape and pursuit of a divorce. Her courage, which enabled her to bring her case to court and end the marriage, has succeeded in bringing some change to the policies in her country, encouraging other young girls to come forward to try and save themselves from abusive arrangements, but it has also brought unwanted publicity to her family. What Nujood has done, has brought dishonor to them and even her female lawyer has received threats. There is danger in fighting these battles for women's rights. The world is upside down when a child, defending her own honor, is accused of dishonoring her family by demanding her freedom. The mistreatment of women in many Muslim countries is exemplified in this tale of child abuse. While Nujood has been honored and has dreams of a future as a lawyer, her prospects for achieving this seem slim. In her country, poverty abounds, women have few rights and they remain uneducated and illiterate as do many men. Women have few expectations and basically accept their neglected condition because they have no power to do otherwise. When a child is "sold" into marriage, women may actually become her biggest enemies, goading her and punishing her for what they consider her disrespectful behavior when she is disobedient. Women expect to be overworked, bear children and follow orders. They are so beaten down that they have little self esteem and expect even less out of life. Theirs is to do or die, obediently, quietly and respectfully. Although the story seems disjointed at first, all the pieces come together in the end. I realize it is a true story but it defies my imagination and fills me with horror and regret that such conditions exist in the modern world.
Angieryb More than 1 year ago
CULTURE VS. JUSTICE “I am Nujood, age 10 and divorced” is a book about, Nujood Ali, a ten-year old Yemeni girl who is forced into an arrange marriage set up by her father to a repulsive man, three times her age. Nujood refuses to put up with the injustice of the terrible abuse she suffers and demands a divorce when she can no longer put up with him. Nujood is desperate and cries for help but because of old age customs, her family is in disapprovement for her divorce. They say it, “will bring shame to the family”. Nujood is sick of running circles with her family and realizes that they will not help so she finds bravery and determination to go to court. She is completely confident in justice, her own self-worth and her faith in god that will protect her through her trails. Nujood was raised in a culture where men have the final word and there are no questions asked but despite through her experience and desperation she finds internal strength to proceed with the court, be patient and believe that right will win out. I would recommend this book to other female teens because I believe it is an eye opening to the outside world around us. Nujood’s world may seem different and far from ours but her book shows that she is an average girl with universal appeal. This book teaches to stand up for your self and what you believe in. I believe that here for us we are blinded and take a lot of things for granted. Nujood had her childhood taken from her but yet she didn’t let that experience make the worst of her. In Yemen, Nujood obtained her freedom-an extraordinary achievement, where it is a tradition to get married under the legal age and half the girls there had been married off. Although Nujood has to go through that nightmare, she understands her worth and what she deserves. She will not settle. Nujood’s book is inspiring to people to stand up for them selves. What I liked from this book is how real it was because it still was interesting aside from what we see on media and the junk they show us. Because of media we get a fails idea of life and are brain washed to only the colorful side of life. What I had disliked about this book is the fact that I questioned some of the writing because I felt it was not all her but the authors giving it some spice to the story. I would have also liked to see some more detail to the stories. This book has themes of courage, human rights and compassion. Overall this is a easy read and I would recommend teenagers to read this than get their heads filled with nonsense.
Anita-2674 More than 1 year ago
"I Am Nujood" is a must-have book to read. It is an extraordinary story about a ten-year old girl who decides to flee from her forced marriage and seek the legal system to help her get a divorce from her abusive husband who repeatedly beats and rapes her. Due to poverty conditions suffered by her family after her father lost his job, her father accepts a dowry from a man looking for a young wife to marry which was Nujood. Nujood's new married life only gets worse when she is mistreated and used as a slave by her cold-hearted mother-in-law. Her dreams of getting an education in school are prohibited and her life with her husband becomes a nightmare. Her determination to detach herself from living the life of a wife, drives her to run to a courthouse and demand a judge to grant her a divorce. With the help of a female lawyer, Nujood is granted her divorce. I was so touched how this young girl found the strength to risk it all to reclaim her old life and return to her family. She is a natural born fighter and it was all or nothing in her mind. She didn't let fears, worries, or obvious obstacles of the difficulty of a divorce in Yemen to be granted to women and the possibility of repercussions and bringing dishonor to her family, stop her from fighting for what she wanted. Yet through it all, she become a hero for many women in her country and all over the world, because she took a stand against forced child marriages.
millmm More than 1 year ago
This was a great book!! It makes me realize how unappreciative I am being raised here in the United States. Her story stuck with me for a long time. I read this book about 6 months ago and still recommend it to others. LM
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is rather basic making it a quick and easy read. It does share some interesting information about the culture and its treatment of women and children. Fortunately it does not harp on the sexual perversion done to this child but provides enough visual for the reader to understand what she was subjected to. At times you wonder if it is possible for a child so young to have such knowledge and use such verbiage but I'm guessing co-author sprinkled her own words throughout.
teddiebares More than 1 year ago
This author astonishes you with its captivating subject and awe inspiring courageousness of a 10 year old little girl! She had to become an adult before she understood what being an adult was! To think that this kind of thing happens everyday in other countries is very disheartening! We call it child molestation here in the USA what they consider to be a binding marriage in consummation!! These acts should be abominated and the people who marry these poor children should be castrated!!!
darthlaurie More than 1 year ago
This is the story of a brave little Yemen girl who stood up for herself and got a divorce from her abusive husband. I hope that in fifteen or twenty years we'll see that she really did become a lawyer and she's making sure women in that part of the world get the protection and equal rights that they deserve. One reviewer claims that an illiterate little girl had thoughts put in her head. I'm sorry, but a child--any child knows when they're being taken advantage of. They know when they are treated unfairly, they know when they're being hurt. Nujood, like many child brides, knew she was being hurt. The difference is she decided she deserved better and she fought for her life. Naturally the co-author has put things in a more adult language. It's not a story for children in America. There are things about the case that Nujood is still too young to understand. Maybe one day when she's an adult we'll have a retelling of the story in her own words. Until then, let's just be grateful that one little girl changed her corner of the world at least a little bit so that other children won't suffer the way she did... or at the very least they have recourse.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
wow...what a book! Nujood is such courageous young lady. Good for her!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It usually takes me a few weeks to complete a book. This book took me a day and a half. I couldn't put it down. I didn't want it to end and hope the author has a follow up to know how Nujood is doing after this 'forced marriage.' GREAT book, highly recommend.
Choti More than 1 year ago
This book is about a beautiful 10 year Yemeni girl who has childish dreams and hopes for herself but her dreams are thwarted when she is forced to marry a man twice her age. Her father sells her to a man who is told not to touch her before puberty. The husband does not care and forces himself on her . The little girl is confused and beaten and hates the situation she is on. She is able to find help by going to court and fight the case . She is an example for all the women who complain about their lives but if they realize what this little girl went through they would feel grateful for what they have been given.She musters courage and gets a divorce and sets a precedent for other girls like her. Thanks Nujood , your story is a testament to the courage girls your age need to show in situations similar to yours. When I was reading the book , I was wondering what I used to do as a 10 year old girl and felt so much for her case.
Mu5limah87 More than 1 year ago
This is a heroic story of a child who was thrust into a marriage at the age of 9 and raped on her wedding night, even though her husband had sworn to not lay a hand on her until one year after she reached puberty. This story describes the heartache, fear and every day life for Yemeni girls who are married off for money when the family reaches an economical hardship. The horrors that this child had to go through is something horrendous and though some parts are difficult to read, from a comfortability stand point, it does help open the eyes of the world to the atrocities that are taking place in the Middle East. In the book, the sentence is used, "Prophet Mohammed married A'isha at the age of 9" and they use this as an excuse. In reality, yes - Mohammed did marry A'isha at the age of 9, but also did not consummate the marriage until after she had reached puberty, which is the same case with Isaac and Rebecca because Rebecca was age 3 when she was married to Isaac. (I was a Sunday school teacher, I would know this.) This just goes to show that even though there are religious differences throughout we world, everyone needs to stick together. Especially when it comes to the abuse - especially sexual abuse - of children.
acajuncharm More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book - it showed the determination of a young lady and what she had to go through at such a young age! Good reading!
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