Thursday, August 2, 2012

Review: The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

The Breadwinner brings to life an issue that has recently exploded in the international media — the reality of life under the Taliban. Young Parvana lives with her family in one room of a bombed-out apartment building in Kabul, Afghanistan. Because he has a foreign education, her father is arrested by the Taliban, the religious group that controls the country. Since women cannot appear in public unless covered head to toe, or go to school, or work outside the home, the family becomes increasingly desperate until Parvana conceives a plan. She cuts her hair and disguises herself as a boy to earn money for her family. Parvana’s determination to survive is the force that drives this novel set against the backdrop of an intolerable situation brought about by war and religious fanaticism. Deborah Ellis spent several months talking with women and girls in Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan and Russia. This suspenseful, timely novel is the result of those encounters. Royalties from the sale of The Breadwinner will go toward educating Afghan girls in Pakistani refugee camps. “...a potent portrait of life in contemporary Afghanistan, showing that powerful heroines can survive even in the most oppressive ... conditions.”

The story of Parvana and the plight of the people in Afghanisan is heart rending. Although this book is set during the horrors of war, I was touched by the courage and determination of Parvana, her family and the people around them. I thought this was an insightful introduction to the war with the Taliban in Afghanistan. It's sometimes hard for me to imagine the life women are forced to live in countries such as this.  Such oppression and control.  It makes me so grateful for what I have and what I can do.  (like writing this blog and expressing my opinions and feelings)

 The book is written with young readers in mind (ages 10 and up) but does have some violence and war situations that may warrant discussion with an adult. As is usually the case after reading books such as this, I walked away with a profound gratitude for my country, my freedoms and those people who work and sacrifice to ensure those freedoms.


  1. I loved this book. I had to read it for class, but I still enjoyed it.'s so sad some of the things Parvana has to do especially since it's based off of real events, like the digging of the graves. And it's depressing how her city used to be so beautiful and now it's ruined by the wars.

  2. Wow this book brings back memories! I had to read it in school and I remember really enjoying it. Glad to see some older titles being highlighted in the blogosphere

  3. Wow this sounds really compelling -- adding it to my to-read list!

  4. sounds like agreat book and that cover just draws me in ty for sharing

  5. Awesome review!
    This books sounds great and touching. It's so sad to think about those people who live in Afghanistan especially women and children. My prayer goes out to them!

  6. Very nice!I didn't know about the existence of this book, but i found it very interesting! I do like fictional books based on history and war!The sinopsis reminded me of Mulan!hehe
    I wished these tales could only exist in books instead of still taking away people's freedom and peace nowadays.
    I have to say this cover is very beautiful!


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