Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Different Kind of Daughter: The Girl Who Hid from the Taliban in Plain Sight by Maria Toorpakai with Katharine Holstein

I never expected A Different Kind of Daughter: The Girl Who Hid from the Taliban in Plain Sight by Maria Toorpakai with Katharine Holstein to give me a greater insight into who I am at my core, but it did. I expected it to shine light on a culture I've never experienced instead it reminded me just how alike human beings are no matter where they live. Toorpakai doesn't shy away from the uncomfortable parts of her story. She goes into vivid detail about her journey to become her best self. She talks about breaking with the societal norms and expectations and her family's struggle to fight against the inequality in Pakistan. Her salvation didn't come from education but rather from first weight lifting and then squash. For someone like me who values education, this part of the story was hard for me to read. Her inability to sit in a classroom challenged my beliefs while gently coercing me to feel compassion for her circumstances. Her desire to live as a boy in a society where girls' participation in society is severely restricted challenges ideas about gender roles from around the world. As Toorpakai searches for a way to survive, to escape, and to protect her family, her strength and her family's love and openness shine through in the refusal to compromise who she is or sacrifice her for their own safety. A Different Kind of Daughter is not only the story about a daughter who is different but about the family who is different enough to buck societal norms and risk losing everything to honor their values and teach their children to be proud of who they are even if society doesn't understand them. I laughed, I cried, I cheered, I winced, I pleaded as I followed Toorpakai and her family on this journey to find a place in the world where she belonged.

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