Insta Review: One Half from the East, by Nadia Hashimi

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One year after Obayda’s father loses his leg in a market bombing in Kabul, she thinks that her life has changed as much as it possibly can. Her family had to leave their home to move to a small village, attend a new school, and live much more simply than she is used to. But it turns out that all of that is nothing compared to the changes to come. Obayda’s mother decides that the way to rid their family of their bad luck to is to follow an Afghani tradition and turn Obayda into a bascha posh – a young girl who lives as a boy. It’s not just the banning of dresses and the different class at school that makes the change difficult. Suddenly Obayda has become Obayd, and her entire world – from the way she moves and talks to the way she is treated by her sisters – is unrecognizable. But with the help of a new friend, Obayd realizes all of the amazing things that boys in Afghanistan can do that girls cannot, and comes to love the new freedoms and privileges. But the bascha posh is traditionally not a permanent change, and there’s no way for Obayd to know what is waiting for him/her in the future. One Half from the East was an engaging and startling way to look at gender issues and the difference between the way girls and boys are expected to behave – in Afghanistan and beyond. In her note at the end of the novel, author Nadia Hashimi says that grew up being told that as a girl, she could be and do anything that she wanted if she worked hard enough, and laments that girls everywhere don't get the same opportunities. One Half from the East is excellent. This is what we call a "sliding glass door" book – written to allow readers to step into the life of someone else for awhile. Lend me your thumbs so I can give this one more than two thumbs up, please. 👍🏽👍🏿👍🏼👍🏾

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