Friday, January 1, 2010

Wanting Mor

Jameela has never had much, but she does have a roof over her head, even if the floor is dirt.  And food to eat, however simple it may be.  And most importantly, she has her mother, her 'mor'.  With her cleft lip she has never considered herself beautiful, but she has always tried to be good.  But when she wakes up one morning to find her mother dead there's an even larger cleft created her in life.  Her father moves her to town where she works as a servant, then he marries a selfish woman, and ultimately abandons her.  Jameela tries to be good, but she can't help missing her mother, wanting mor. 

This novel, based on a true story, is set during the 2001 Afghanistan war and it does a wonderful job depicting the life of a girl growing up at the time.  The descriptions describe the setting in a matter-of-fact way without exoticizing things with a glossary in back to refer to for unfamiliar words.  The cruelty and despair of the times are depicted alongside acts of kindness and hope.  The narrative is clear and easy to understand and while it does depict some harsh situations it does so in a way that is appropriate for younger readers.  I'd say that this book is on the younger side of the YA scale and is great reading for a preteens and teens who want to better understand life in Afganhistan.  However, I think it is a bit too juvenile to be really enjoyed by and useful to adults.  For an adult description of modern life in Afghanistan for women I'd recommend A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.  I loved this book and, while not appropriate for younger readers, it really gives a lot for an adult reader to reflect on. 

Wanting Mor by Rukhsana Khan ISBN:9780888998583

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