Today, I am going to share with you my proper first book review. (Yikes!) I am reviewing books written by WordPress bloggers, which I have bought and read. The first book I have chosen to write a review of is one that many of you will recognise. “Climbing Over Grit” is a book that I discovered because I was following the posts by Laleh Chini, the creator of A Voice from Iran.
It’s been some time since I read this deeply moving account based on the real life experiences of Laleh Chini’s own mother. Laleh wrote “Climbing Over Grit” along with her own daughter Abnoos, and in many ways I am glad they could work on it together. It must have been a very emotional process to record this harrowing real life tale.
The first few chapters were rich in details, presented through the eyes of a child, that helped to paint a fascinating picture of the world Najma (Laleh’s mother) grows up in. Despite having the natural love a child has for their parents, Najma is candid about the aspects of their characters which would have caused challenges to the young children. As an adult reader, I found the tendency to judge was easily provoked in me. I wanted to scoop up Najma and her siblings and for them to be a part of my own family, especially as I knew what was coming.
But then came the moment I had been dreading reading about. I knew beforehand that the story features the real life accounts of child brides in forced marriages. Many of my friends and relatives have worked out in lands where they have been distressed at seeing young girls married at a very young age, often by their parents seeking economic survival. So reading about Najma’s experiences left me with tears trickling down my face. This is why so many organisations are trying to empower women in various lands so they can access education and they are not subjected to abuse.
However, the more I read, the strength and resilience of clearly a remarkable woman shone through. I don’t want to risk dropping any spoilers because this is so definitely a book I recommend, but anybody with a heart who reads “Climbing Over Grit” is going to be deeply moved by this story, especially when you realize how incredibly personal it is to the authors. There are are real life characters that you will want to be able to protect and fight for. In fact I wanted to know more about what became of some of the characters I was anxious about.
Why would I recommend “Climbing Over Grit“? For a start, it is an education in itself. If you have grown up in a land where you were guaranteed an education that likely lasted into your late teens and were allowed to choose your own romantic interests, and decide who to marry, it may seem hard to grasp the very different world that Najma grows up in. This real life story shows the reality of what many child brides endure even now. I also think that a stark light is shone on abuse in general, and how it is allowed to be perpetuated for so long.
In many ways I hope that after reading this story, you will care more than ever about the welfare of young women in lands where forced marriages occur and the right to education is not protected.
I also think this story is a profound example of how a human can endure and grow stronger despite crushing circumstances. As much as I was weeping to think of what Najma experienced, I also fell a swell of pride with each of her personal victories. I don’t want to drop any spoilers, but I will say to be prepared (preferably with Kleenex and plenty of chocolate) for an emotional rollercoaster.
As well as employing vivid descriptions to help readers envision Najma’s world, Laleh Chini and her daughter Abnoos have very courageously provided an unsettling personal account that highlights astonishing endurance but also shows how a damaging cycle was perpetuated. The record they have published is a great asset providing insight into why many millions of women around the world need better protection.
This is the first of my book reviews. I have more scheduled to be published.