Home > Intermediate Fiction, Junior Fiction, Realism > One Half from the East by Nadia Hashimi.

One Half from the East by Nadia Hashimi.

August 18, 2016

half eastOne Half from the East by Nadia Hashimi. Pub. HarperCollins, 2016.

Directed at 8-12 year olds this is one of the most enlightening and moving stories I have read for sometime .

Obayda is a 10 year old Afghan girl living with her two older sisters and parents in Kabul. It is a more enlightened Kabul than under the Taliban but still very restrictive for girls and women.

A car bomb takes the leg of Obayda’s father and they move to a small village where the father takes to his bed. All are concerned until an aunt approaches Abayda with a proposition to turn her into a bacha posh. What is this you ask? Well it is an old Afghan custom of turning a girl into a boy to change the fortunes of a family or household.

A boy is good luck, a boy can work and earn money and a boy will do more for Obayda’s father than any doctor could. The trouble is Abayda likes being a girl, she likes dancing and pretty clothes and enjoys being with her sisters. As the story evolves and Abayd gets better at being and doing what a boy does, the distance between her and her sisters widens.

Obayda becomes Obayd, one small letter makes all the difference. Her hair is shaved off, she wears boys clothes and goes to a boys’ school. But this doesn’t make her a boy. She struggles until she meets older boy Rahim. He tells her he is like her and that being a boy is more than what is in your pants. Obayd starts to get it, but then Rahim tells her he is never going to change back to a girl. Read the rest yourself.

Sensitively and simply told. This is one of my books of the year.


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