I was in Barnes and Noble yesterday and came across a book title that made me stop in my tracks: “I am Nujood, Age 10, and Divorced.” I immediately sat down on the floor of Barnes and Noble and read the entire memoir in one sitting. The story is one of the most heartfelt and heart wrenching stories I have ever read.
Written by Nujood Ali, a 10 year old from Yemen who was forced to marry a much older man at the age of 9 because of her family’s poor economic situation. However, the book makes it perfectly clear that it is not uncommon for women to marry at a very young age when their families cannot afford another mouth to feed. So what makes this novel so important? She broke tradition by running away to a judge and begging for a divorce. The divorce was indeed granted- I’m not ruining anything for you… it’s in the title. The surprises are in the way that this 10 year old is so completely candid about her family, her culture, and her upbringing.
The English version of the novel was published in 2010- when Nujood was only 12 years old. However, it was originally published in many other languages in 2008, when her divorced was granted. She had international coverage of her story which has, luckily, gotten her family the opportunities to move away and make some money for themselves. Nujood was chosen by Glamour Magazine as Woman of the Year in 2008 (at the age of 10). The book is incredible and I would strongly recommend it as a quick read.
Nujood and her mother