Zoya’s Story

Current stop: Afghanistan

If peace returns to my country, I would like to go back and walk the destroyed streets of Kabul, the sun shining not on a burqa but on my face. I would think not of the past but of the future.

As I mentioned previously, it was difficult for me to find novels by women from certain countries. This memoir was technically written by journalists John Follain and Rita Cristofari, but “as told by” Zoya.

I was drawn to this story immediately. Zoya’s parents, both revolutionaries, raise her to be an independent thinker and to question authority. Zoya’s mother was a part of RAWA (the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan), “the oldest political/social organization of Afghan women struggling for peace, freedom, democracy and women’s rights in fundamentalism-blighted Afghanistan since 1977.” I am always impressed and in awe of women who under repressive regimes risk their own lives for women. I want to think I would be brave enough to do the same.

Zoya eventually must relocated to Pakistan after the disappearance of both her parents, and is educated in a RAWA facility for girls. After she finishes school, so travels between Pakistan and Afghanistan, where she fights for the rights of women under Taliban rule.

This is a quick, engaging read and is not nearly as bleak as some of the others I have read during this challenge, but nonetheless contains some harrowing details. If you’re squeamish though, this book might be a good introduction into this type of literature. That’s not to say I don’t think you should read books that make you uncomfortable, but if you don’t want to cry for hours but want a good book to read about difficult subject matter, this may be a good one to try.

Next stop: Pakistan

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