Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Book Review - Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy

Words in the Dust


This is the kind of book that makes would-be authors despair. For an American military guy from Iowa to capture the voice of a young Afghani girl so well, not to mention writing a story that sucks its readers in with the first page and leaves them thinking about it long afterward - all in his debut novel - well, that's just not fair! How can the rest of us hope to measure up?!

A bit discouraging for writers, but a boost for readers who have been grumbling about the lack of outstanding YA Fiction this year. Zulaikha was born with a cleft palate in a country where medical care, especially for girls, is hard to find. Her father calls her beautiful, but others in her village - even, recently, her younger brother - call her Donkey Face. Her mother had been teaching her to read, and instilled a love of words and poetry in her - but she was killed by the Taliban for hiding books. Her future looks bleak, and all attention is given to her older, beautiful sister's potential marriage.

Then, one day, the American soldiers come to town. They say they can perform an operation that will give her a 'normal' face, which would lead to a chance at a good marriage. Is this what she needs to make her life perfect? Or is there more to her than how she looks? That is, assuming that the operation even happens, that cultural clashes and military bureaucracy do not get in the way.

This is one novel that will appeal to a wide variety of age groups, and our library's copy has already been the object of word of friend-to-friend recommendations. If it's in, you will find it on our new shelves!

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