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Monday, September 28, 2009

Beneath My Mother's Feet - Amjed Qamar

I read this book this week and while I enjoyed it, I also felt it was missing a little something that would have put it up in the top of its genre.

This story is set in Pakistan where 14 year old Nazia lives with her parents in a family who is making ends meet, but just. Nazia goes to a good school, where she has excellent teachers and does well. All this changes when Nazia's father is seriously injured on a construction job. Her family needs her father's income, but since he cannot work, Nazia's mother takes on household cleaning jobs, a shameful position, and worse, she requires Nazia to drop out of school to work with her.

Nazia at 14 is nearly ready to be married, in a partnership that was forged long ago. In order to be married, she needs a dowry, which her mother has been scrimping and saving for over the years to build up. However, Nazia's lazy, no-good brother breaks in and steals the dowry one day while Nazia and her mother are working, nearly ruining that opportunity as well.

In the end, Nazia must decide if she will be a dutiful daughter and do what her family wants her to do but which she know will make her miserable or if she will be brave and go her own way.

It's an interesting story about another culture, but it lacked spark for me. I felt for Nazia and her difficult situation, but not very strongly. I'd be interested to hear if other readers were impacted differently, so send me a comment!

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