Friday, August 2, 2013

The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

Western Asia seems to be a theme this summer, as this book takes place in Afghanistan in an unspecified time, but one where the Taliban ruled and their very strict interpretation of the Koran made it impossible for women to have any freedom, let alone rights. This book is about one well educated, once prosperous family who stayed in Afghanistan because they loved their country, but slowly, over time, saw almost everything they loved about Afghanistan and most of their possesions stolen away by the Taliban and their rules. In this story, the father is, one day, taken by the police without explanation. Without him, the family has no way to earn money, let alone walk to the market unaccompanied. The responsibility of earning money falls onto the shoulders of the middle daughter, Parvana. They chop off her hair and she becomes their long lost cousin visiting from parts afar and she is sent out to the market to continue reading letters for people at the market, the job her father did to support the family. This desperate change was extremely dangerous, for if anyone discovered she was a girl, she would be beaten and most likely killed and her family would endure unknown punishments. However, if she didn’t, her family would starve to death. To find out more about her adventures in the marketplace and the friends she discovers, read this book. It’s worth it, although the ending is slightly anticlimactic. 

One of the things I liked about this book, was the author’s ability to make the reader feel the love for the country, despite the ruling party. It’s a deep seated love that might be difficult for some people to comprehend but explains why people who could leave, stayed. Grades 5-8 Easy read but a complex tale