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Book Review: The Pearl That Broke Its Shell By Nadia Hashimi

“The human spirit, you know what they say about the human spirit? It is harder than a rock and more delicate than a flower petal.”

This picturesque prose is an invitation to look at Afghan life through a different lense, it’s a meaningful read that interweaves the tales of two women separated by a century who share similar destinies. Their plight indicates how nothing much has changed in their struggle: they are still subjugated to the whims of their fathers and husbands, misogynistic men who are afraid of women becoming liberated.

The multi-generational stories of Rahima and Shekiba brought to light elements of Afghani laws, deplorable status of women, child brides, violence against women, political corruption and gender inequality. I came to know new things about Afghan culture especially the “bacha posh” and I wish these women had the same opportunities for freedom and happiness as the men.

The writing is clear and coherent as it highlights clearly how men use force and fear to keep women under their control in abusive relationships.

Through the bravery and intelligence of the two protagonists, Hashimi creates a story that grips the reader’s attention. Reading this book shakes your emotions and stirs in you strong feelings to fight for those who are silenced, belittled and suffocated. The twists and turns of the plot kept me wondering, cheering and sometimes shedding a tear right down to the final page.

The book ends with a glimmer of hope, but the overall message of the book left me wondering if the men of Afghanistan will ever realize the injustice they commit against their women?

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