The Pearl That Broke Its Shell By Nadia Hashimi
“Educate a woman and you will have educated an entire generation” or so they say.
An intriguing story of powerlessness, freedom and the desire to control one’s fate.
Set in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2007, at a time when women have no voice and their destiny is based solely on the decisions made by men, Nadia captures this world in this intriguing master piece.
With a drug addicted and ever angry father and a mother who is too tied up in tradition to question the decisions of her husband, young Rahima and her sisters feel the qualms of the rotten society. They can only attend school periodically.
Their only hope lies in an ancient tradition called bacha posh where Rahima has to be turned into a boy until she is of marrigeable age. This way she and her sisters can have a chance of getting an education. As a boy, Rahima can attend school, accompany her sisters to school, run errands for the family and get to interact and play with boys her age in a world where it is a taboo for a girl to be seen walking, playing or even smiling at a boy, leave alone the fact that they can’t even learn in the same classes.
As it turns out, this ancient custom has been in her family for centuries. Her great grand aunt, orphaned and with no one to guide her through life assumed the life of a man to protect and create a new life for herself.
But what happens when Rahima outgrows being a bacha posh? Will she choose her own destiny or are the chains that hold her too strong?
The Pearl That Broke Its Shell tells the tale of two women, though separated by a century are so much alike and share almost similar destinies.