Monday, July 27, 2015

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

This book grabbed me and I finished it within one day. I am interested in human rights and women's rights in particular, and this provided a fascinating look at the life of a girl of Pakistani heritage. Naila is an American girl with Pakistani parents. She is bright and ambitious and looking forward to college. She also has a boyfriend that she keeps a secret from her strict parents. But one night of fun gets her a consequence that she would not have believed. She thinks that her parents are taking her and her brother to stay with relatives in Pakistan for a short time, but the trip expands and all her future plans are up in the air. I found myself imagining how I would have gotten out of such a situation and I suspect that in real life Naila wouldn't have had a good outcome. I am curious how Pakistani readers react to this book. I imagine some would find it to be an indictment of their culture while others would welcome the story that exposes how girls can be treated differently in other cultures. I think American students will enjoy the story and learn something at the same time. I also must put in a plug for one of my all-time favorite books, Shabanu by Suzanna Fisher Staples. It's also about a girl Pakistan caught up in a world where she can't make decisions about her own future.

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