I have made it a goal this year to make sure that I read more novels that have a main character that is not white. I am striving to be more diverse in my reading and then help promote these books on my blog. The key is to find the books and then to enjoy them. I came across another book recently and it was Wanting Mor.
This is the story of a girl named Jameela who lives in a very poor part of Afghanistan. The land is war torn from the Taliban and the other conflicts going on in the Middle East. She has a cleft lip from not having proper medical access and education is near impossible to find. Jameela relies on her Muslim religion to bring her through the times knowing that if she can survive the obstacles she will be rewarded. However, things are really tested when her mother, Mor, dies in her sleep and her father starts to act irrational. He makes Jameela pack up and move to Kabul with him. Once they arrive she becomes a slave to her stepmother. It is not an enjoyable life. Eventually, she is left on the street corner by her father and she has to move into an orphanage that is operated by the army that has killed so much of her family and friends. The ending and final events are very powerful. This is a must read.
What makes this story even more powerful is that fact that it is based on a true story. Additionally, it also made me realize how fortunate we are. I cannot believe that in this day and age that people have it so rough. I am blinded by this fact and this novel really spoke to me. It also further drives my frustration as a teacher when our students take for granted the education provided to them. They have no idea how lucky they are. Jameela in the story would have sacrificed anything to just be able to learn how to read. Here in America we have people who think that school is not worth it and that drives me insane. This book really had me reflecting on my life and my perspectives. This is must read for the Western world to understand life in the Middle East. I will be promoting this book at my school because I think it is one that needs to be read.
Inspired by a true story, and set in a world far removed from that of Western readers, this powerful novel reveals that the desire for identity and self-understanding is universal.