by Zana Muhsen with Andrew Crofts

This is a true story about about two teenaged girls born and raised in Birmingham and sold to be brides in North Yemen.  They thought they were going on a holiday but once they arrived, the holiday turned into a living nightmare when they were forced to sleep with strangers who were their husbands, to live in primitive conditions with no running water or electricity, and suffered beatings from their inlaws. 

The story itself is heart wrenching, although I wish that the writing could be better.  I don’t mean dressing up the story or making up facts to make it more exciting, but right now it feels like the writer simply transcribed Zana’s words without much organization and editing.

Naturally, after finishing the book, I couldn’t help wondering what happens to Zana’s sister, Nadia. For anyone interested, here are some sites:,4273,4385270,00.html

After reading the updates, I wonder if Nadia is just too attached to her children to leave, or if she has gone to be happy with the life she has.  Afterall, she has spent more time in Yemen than in England, and should she return, she may be as unaccustomed to life in England as a new immigrant may be.  Could it be that she choose to stay because the unfamiliar Western world is too intimidating to her? Was it brainwashing, or did she make the choice herself?  Or maybe she was threatened that terrible things may happen to her children.   In some way, we cannot make the assumption that if we hard a way of life, other must hate it too.  There are certainly people who give up modern comforts to live in unbearably primitive regions, for an array of reasons.   Perhaps we will never know the answer. 

Zana is a very lucky girl to be able to get out, and her life in Yemen could have been a lot worse.  I feel sorry for Nadia, and more so for those whose stories we will never know and who have nowhere to turn.

Published in: on July 10, 2007 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. I’ve read the book, it impress me so much and i can’t put it down, so i finish it by 7 hours, but non-stop. LOL.
    Anyway, i pray everynight for Nadia’s happiness.

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