This month we're featuring memoirs by two women from the Middle East trying to forge and solidify their identities against all odds.
Imagine living in a place where being a tomboy was a death sentence. In A Different Kind of Daughter, Maria Toorpakai recounts how her liberal father honored her request at age five to burn her clothes and dress as a boy in Pakistan's violently oppressive northwest tribal region. Consequently, she began playing squash with her brothers and rose to become the number one female squash player in Pakistan. When the Taliban found out, they issued death threats against her family and hunted her down. She was rescued by an elite Canadian squash coach, who smuggled her away from Pakistan and into Canada, where she is now among the top fifty players in the world. Toorpakai's is different kind of courageous sports memoir that reveals some dark truths of global politics and the oppression of women around the world.
In The Home That Was Our Country, Alia Malek also takes a humanistic approach to the complicated political and cultural history of the Middle East. Malek relates the hopeful story of moving to Syria during the Arab Spring to restore her grandmother’s abandoned Damascus apartment. She describes the peaceful microcosm of Middle Easterners who live in the building together (Muslims, Christians, Jews, Armenians and Kurds) while contrasting this with drastic the political shifts that threaten to tear the country apart. By weaving together the story of her family with the history of a country, Malek provides a sympathetic glimpse at the devastation of the Syrian War. For anyone seeking a closer look into Syria’s history and future.
Check back in May for more blurbs from Ms. Wunder's Book Corner!