The book was my faithful companion during the drive to and from Chicago this week. I loved every moment, almost to the point that I wanted to stay in my car and finish it instead of turning off the car and walking into my apartment at 11:00 last night. Almost.
It is the tale of two women who endured extreme circumstances while living in war-ravaged Afghanistan throughout the 80's and 90's. Despair, loss, and betrayal mark their lives in so many ways, yet they are able to retain a hard-fought glimmer of hope and redemption in the midst of such significant tragedy.
What was so striking and fascinating to me about this story was that these women had virtually no control over their own lives. Although this work is fiction, I am confident that the lifestyles depicted in this story was and is true for so many women. It is sad and frightening to think about. Each was forced into marriage with a selfish, violent man. They were not allowed to be in public without a male relative, or show their faces outside of their home. Not allowed to work for a living, even if it meant that their children would have to starve from lack of money for food. Their fate was completely decided for them, both by their government and by their husbands.
I've never been more thankful to live here. And now.
Where I don't have to be afraid that my husband will be angry with me if our future children are girls.
Where I could pick the man I wanted to marry.
Where we can decide together when we'd like to have children.
Where I can work and make money for my family.
Where education is important for both boys and girls.
Where my worth, in the eyes of society, isn't dependent on how many sons I have.
Where I can go where I please, when I please.
I tend to take these things for granted. I was certainly aware, prior to reading, that women in other places and times didn't and don't have the same rights as me. But through listening to this book it really hit home. It is a significant blessing to live in such a place and time.