Friday, July 22, 2011

Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy

Zulaikha and her sister Zeynab have always been close. Together they deal with their father's second wife's crankiness while taking care of their younger brothers. Life for everyone in their town in Afghanistan is getting better now that the Taliban has been largely defeated by the American soldiers. In fact, their Baba has just been hired to work on a new school that is being built in town, a school that will even teach girls. Zulaikha would like to learn to read and love poetry just like her mother who was killed by the Taliban for keeping books in the house. But Zulaikha's greater wish is for her cleft lip to be fixed so that she can be as beautiful as Zeynab. After she attracts the attention of some of the soldiers it seems like her wish might finally come true. Zeynab's dream of becoming a wife is also happening when Baba matches her with a man in his 40's with two other wives. But both girls run into obstacles and find that their dreams don't work out as well as they'd wished. This book is written by a former soldier who was stationed in Afghanistan and based his story and characters on real things he saw in the country.

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