Rahima comes from a family of girls–5 daughters and no sons, a curse from Allah, her father moans. Two of the girls are still small, but the 3 oldest (approximately 9, 11 and 12) are kept home from school after a boy pays too much attention to them as they are walking home. Their father doesn’t really care if they get an education or not, and his love of opium dims his ability to provide even further. One of the few bright spots in a life of want is the girls’ aunt, Shaima, who provides both inspiration and practical ideas. Her practical idea comes in the form of an ancient practice called bacha posh, and her inspiration through her stories of the girls’ great-grandmother, who also fought against destiny and won.
And so Rahima becomes a bacha posh, a girl who dresses as a boy. She thrives on this newfound freedom for 4 years until one day, her mother catches her wrestling another boy and, shocked, instantly transforms her back into a girl. Now she will be not only a girl but a wife, at 13. How will she make this transition?
The stories of their ancestor, Bibi (grandma) Shekiba, provide a sort of comfort. The Pearl that Broke Its Shell tells the stories of two Afghani women, living a century apart. It’s a wonderful book and I throroughly enjoyed it.
To read the rest of my review and enter to win a copy of your own, click on over to 5 Minutes for Mom.