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.
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.