Sunday, April 17, 2011

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced

Goodreads Summary:
“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.”

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.

Recently honored alongside Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice as one of Glamour magazine’s women of the year, Nujood now tells her full story for the first time. As she guides us from the magical, fragrant streets of the Old City of Sana’a to the cement-block slums and rural villages of this ancient land, her unflinching look at an injustice suffered by all too many girls around the world is at once shocking, inspiring, and utterly unforgettable.

My Review:
This was a powerful story not not only about a young girl forced into marriage, but about a community plagued with young abused girls. They are married without their consent, turned into indentured servants, and beaten oftentimes by their husbands as well as other new family members they are forced to live with.

This specific story is about one girl's courage in speaking out against this travesty. She takes it upon herself, after being married to a man three times her age without her consent, to go to the courthouse seeking a divorce.
4/5 stars


  1. I haven't read this one, but I've had my eye on it at the bookstore. It's incredible what these young girls go through. I want to read their stories in the hopes that it will, in some small way, help them feel heard and supported.

  2. I know I had seen it for awhile as well. I went with one of my now graduated students the other day and she showed interest, so I got a copy for both of us. It's a quick yet powerful read. The funds from the book go towards helping her reach her goal of becoming a lawyer. Hopefully she makes it.

  3. I know it's so sad to think about what is happening around the world. The idea of not having a choice in what you do is just so hard for me. I'm sure if I lived somewhere else I'd be beaten a lot or dead. I just couldn't passively obey.
    Luckily, she opened the doorway for other women who spoke up and sought divorce as well. Even the laws about having multiple wives changed, but I don't think they're enforced.