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I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali - Readers Guide

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali - Readers Guide

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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.
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.

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Publish date: Mar 2, 2010
Added to Scribd: Feb 26, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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08/21/2013

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I Am Nujood
Reader’s Guide
1. Honor is obviously very important to the men of Nujood’s family. What does the notionof honor mean in rural Yemeni culture, and how does it differ from Western ideas of honor? When Nujood, Shada, and their allies go to court to seek a divorce for Nujood,what conception of honor are
they 
defending?2. Nujood mentions a tribal proverb that says “To guarantee a happy marriage, marry anine-year-old girl.” How does this traditional view of a “happy marriage” differ from theWestern view? Are there any ways in which they might be similar?3. Nujood says that when her family was driven from Khardji, they lost “a small corner of paradise.” How do the injustices endured by Nujood’s father and brother, Fares, show thatlife in a patriarchal society can be hard not just for women, but for male Yemenis, too?Consider how the actions of Omma, Mona, Nujood’s mother- in- law, Dowla, and Shadareflect differences in their life experiences, personalities, backgrounds, and relationshipswith Nujood. For example:4. What do you think Omma was thinking when Nujood told her about the abuse? Can youunderstand her lack of action?5. Conversely, why was Dowla willing and able to give Nujood the help and advice that noone else was willing to provide?6. Were you surprised when one of Nujood’s primary oppressors turned out to be awoman? Nujood’s mother-in-law is a strong personality who treats the young girl harshlyand fails to come to her defense on her wedding night. How does this play, paradoxically,into the idea of Yemen as a highly patriarchal society? Do you see any similarity, forexample, between the mother- in- law’s behavior and the fact that in some African societies,it is the women who enforce the practice of female circumcision?7. How do you interpret the behavior of Mona, not only in her attempts to protect Nujood,but in her difficult relationship with her older sister, Jamila?8. What enables Shada to take up Nujood’s cause so quickly and effectively? How doesShada, whom Nujood calls her “second mother,” open up Nujood’s world? Who elseteaches Nujood about what a “real” family can be like?9. The urban elites Nujood encounters in the courtroom and at the
Yemen Times 
lead verydifferent lives from those of Nujood and the country people of Yemen. How are these“enlightened” people actually disconnected from the rest of their society? For example,Nujood tells us several times that child marriage is common in Yemen, so why did the judges seem so shocked by Nujood’s tender age? Do you think they were unaware of theirsociety’s problem with early marriage, or were they simply blind to the real-lifeconsequences for girls like Nujood? Was there something special about Nujood thatprompted the judges to help her, or was she simply the first girl who had come to themasking for a divorce?10. Shada and Nujood chose the less “elitist” option for Nujood’s schooling. Do you think Nujood made the right decision—to stay in Yemen for her education? Do you think shewill become a lawyer and help other girls like herself, as she says she hopes to do? Closerto home, Nujood talks about her protective feelings toward her sisters Mona and Haïfa, and
www.ThreeRiversPress.com 
 
even toward her big brother Fares. Do you think Nujood will be able to protect hersiblings? What might stand in her way?11. How has the international publicity surrounding the divorce affected Nujood’s familyand community? Has it enlightened her relatives and neighbors? Or do you think it mayhave caused dissension within the family and alienated them from their own society?12. Khat plays a small but sinister role in Nujood’s story. Khat is illegal in the UnitedStates, but some people in immigrant communities compare it to coffee and support itsimportant traditional role in social situations. U.S. authorities counter that it is more likecocaine than coffee. After reading this book, what effect do you think khat has on its usersand on Yemen in general? Do you feel that it contributed to Nujood’s father’s problems? If so, how? How do you think its use and effects might compare to social drugs in the UnitedStates? And most important, what does it tell us about
any 
society that devotes so much of its valuable resources to tuning out from itself, so to speak?
www.ThreeRiversPress.com 

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petra5xs reviewed this
Rated 4/5
This book was the story of Nujood, aged 10 and living in the Yemen, a Muslim country, who was brave enough to go to the courts in the capital and ask the judges to grant her a divorce. That is such an amazing feat, I am sure I can barely imagine the courage this girl had.

Nujood, who had just one year of schooling, lived in a very poor family that sometimes had to beg for food, and was sold for $750 to a man in his thirties who promised, so the father said, that he wouldn't touch her until she reached puberty. But he did, he raped and beat her repeatedly, and his own mother egged him on. In Islam, because Mohammed, aged 52, married a child of 9, this early marriage and sex is considered perfectly ok.

She found sympathetic judges and a wonderful, feminist lawyer and eventually, her father and husband in prison more so she could be safe than anything else, she got her divorce and world-wide attention. Since women are essentially possessions, a contract signed between the father and the husband transferring the 'property' wasn't so easy to break, but Nujood remained strong through the long legal arguments.

Along with Hillary Clinton, who called her 'the bravest woman I've ever met' and Nicole Kidman she was Glamor's 2008 Woman of the Year. She's 13 now, and going to school. She wears jeans and t-shirts and barettes in her hair, the black robes and niqab (veil) she found so stifling cast off.

Inspired by her several little girls, forcibly married at 9, have come forward to get divorces themselves. Its a beginning. And she has made a real difference: the age for marriage is now 17 in Yemen, one hopes it is enforced, but I don't have major faith in that. As long as women are possessions, the contract - the bill of sale - between father and husband will remain more important that the actual marriage where there is no real contract as the girl is neither old enough in law to give her consent, nor is even required to do so.

The book is a fast read, a story very simply told, its filled-in reportage, rather than an in-depth story, but that doesn't lessen the message or appeal of the book at all. It doesn't matter if you know the story, its still an unputdownable book - I read it without stopping until I finished it.

Recommended for the whole wide world to rejoice in her courage and to tell ourselves that we will probably never face anything so daunting in our lives, if she could face her fears and do it, so could we.

mjspear_1 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Najood Ali is, at 10, married off to a man 3x her age. She is raped and beaten by her husband. She escapes to the big city, finds the civil court, and applies for a divorce. Aided by many, including a sympathetic female attorney and judge, she becomes the first woman to win a divorce in Yemen history. Sadly, this compelling tale is a so-so read.
marshapetry reviewed this
Rated 5/5
great book. Any time you're feeling like life has treated you poorly, read this and think about what it'd be like to be married at 10 years old. It was a short book and left a lot unanswered but, hey, it's a 10 yr old girl! can't expect much more (yet)
jellyn_7 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
A relatively short book about Nujood's life and how she was married at the age of 10 to an abusive man, and filed for divorce.It's really a more an amazing story when you read it than it sounds like in a summary. Not that her situation is unique, but it takes a strong will and intelligence to get herself out of it at such a young age.You're reading the story through so many filters though, that it's hard to know how genuine every detail is. She didn't write the story by herself. I don't think she even wrote the story herself. I suspect it was more a series of interviews. And I know nothing about the woman whose name is also on the byline. What country is she from?Added on top of that, the book was then translated into English. So when I see words that I really don't think a 10 year old would use, how do I know who put that word there? Does it sound more like a 10 year old in the original?I would be interested in seeing if Nujood writes her own story, in her own words, once she's older.
decroote reviewed this
Rated 3/5
I Am Nujood Age 10 and Divorced is a heartbreaking book about the treatment of women in Yemen. Very well written, I Am Nujood Age 10 and Divorced tells the story of a 10 year old girl forced into an abusive relationship. Determined to free herself from her husband's grasp, Nujood seeks help. She turns to the courts for justice and meets a sympathetic lawyer who is determined to see that Nujood is taken away from her husband's evil grasp. I Am Nujood Age 10 and Divorced is a sad, but happy, interesting, but disgusting story. It is simply written and very informative regarding the Muslim culture. The most shocking element of the story is how different the Muslim culture is from the American culture.
jlcasanova_1 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
This book tells the story of a young girl named Nujood Ali whose father forces her to marry as a young adolescent. Nujood escapes from her husband and seeks the help of a lawyer, Shada Nasser, to receive a divorce. This book tells her heart breaking tale that ends in triumph. Math teachers can have students research the currency used in Yemen. Students can research how much particular items cost in Yemen. Students can then research the American exchange rate for the items. Geography teachers can have students locate Yemen on a map. Students can then find the different places mentioned in the book such as Hajja and Sana’a. Students can then track Nujood’s journey. History teachers can have students learn about the laws and customs in Yemen. English teachers can have students create a glossary of Yemen terms that were used in the book. Students can also research information on Nujood being named a “Woman of the Year” by Glamour. Teachers can also have students journal on any of the reading group questions located in the back of the book. The author uses any easy style because it is told from a young girl’s perspective. It follows a chronological order, with the exception of the first chapter which focuses on the start of the court case. The author includes a table of contents, an epilogue, acknowledgments, notes, and a reading group guide with possible questions for students to discuss. The author also includes a page with information on how to help girls that are like Nujood. This story is captivating and a great read for all students. I would highly recommend this book to any teacher or librarian.
schatzi_5 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Nujood's story is horrifying. Married off by her father at the age of 10(ish...Nujood is unsure of exactly how old she is), Nujood's husband rapes and beats her, with the blessing of his own family. Her parents aren't willing to help her; her father talks about his honor being tarnished if she leaves her husband, while her mother feels helpless to do anything except say that she misses Nujood but she is married now. It is Nujood's father's second wife who tells her that she needs to go to the court to get a divorce, and, somehow, Nujood finds the courage to do so. Even more amazing, the court agrees with her and grants her the divorce.The book is quite short (I read it in about an hour) and there isn't a lot of detail. The co-author apparently decided to give the narrative a more child-like feel to it, which is both good (it gives the reader a perspective of just how young Nujood is) and bad (it is short and sparse). I would have enjoyed reading more about Nujood's family, as well as placing the story in a broader context (how common is it for this to happen in Yemen? Why? Is it a tribal custom that has been adopted into widespread usage or are the reasons used to support such a barbaric practice more religious in nature? What is the state of women's rights in Yemen, especially when it comes to city vs country? Etc...). It's absolutely horrible to realize that this is happening to girls out there right now. Still, this is a very important tale that needs to be told. Nujood's marriage, and subsequent divorce, is already impacting others - both in the West and in her own country, where other girls who were forced into similar situations were emboldened enough to seek their own divorces. Recommended.
lquilter_2 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Heart-wrenching story. Don't be distracted by that certain peculiar style of writing that comes, no doubt, from a child talking to an adult, and eventually being translated. If I were rating the kid, I would give her 5 stars, and to the extent that the book simply is support for Nujood Ali herself, I really recommend it. As a book about the issues of Yemeni culture or child marriage, though, the reader doesn't get as much as one might like -- the book doesn't shed as much light on the culture, or on potential remedies to the problems. So purely as a book I would give it more like 3 stars. As a compromise, then, 4 stars.
warriorlibrary reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Very interesting true story. It shows how you don't have to be an adult to be brave.
hhs1students reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Reviewed by Brittany (Class of 2014)Life for 10-year-old Nujood isn’t easy when her father decides to make her marry someone three times her Age. In the beginning, her father wanted her to be married because of what happened to her sister. He wanted someone who is going to protect Nujood, but her husband was doing the opposite, beating her and taking advantage of her. Her father made him promise not to take advantage of her because she’s so young, but he broke his promise. Nujood tries to tell her family about what happened but no one would listen to her. She goes to Dowla, her father’s second wife. She tells Nujood to go to court and ask for a divorce. The next day she does. This book is interesting and heartbreaking but, in some parts I got bored with it because it was taking me so long to get to the interesting parts. It is very heartbreaking because of the things he did to her. She had a lot of courage to go against her father by going to the judge to ask for a divorce. I enjoyed this book because of her courage and learning about the different cultures in the world.

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