Windows and Mirrors
Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed is a beautiful story about the hardships faced by those who are indebted to others. The seemingly unending and unchecked power of those who have the financial means and the loss of power of those who don’t.
Set in a Pakistani village, Amal Unbound is the story of Amal, a twelve year old girl with her future in her mind’s eye. She loves school and longs to go to college, rooming with her best friend Hafsa, and become a teacher. She has an incredible thirst for knowledge and wants to know the how’s and why’s of everything. She is also fiercely loyal to her family, picking up the role of caregiver after her mother plunges into a postpartum depression. While out one day buying the family groceries, she runs into the wrong person, Jawad Khan, son of the powerful Khan Sahib, known for his lack of mercy and terrible temper. As a result of her actions, Amal is forced into indentured servitude in the Khan household, serving as a personal maid to Nasreen Baji, matriarch of the family.
Amal Unbound is a powerful story, highlighting the hardships faced by those in servitude. Even in Amal’s home, there was a servant, who was treated like family, but a servant nonetheless. An amazing mirror/window book so critical to share with our children. A book for those from the middle east to see themselves and their customs and traditions reflected in story. A book for children of other cultures to see their friends and/or neighbours lives reflected in story to gain a bigger appreciation for the global community and the sacrifices and hardships some may have to endure. A brilliant book for the girls in your life to show that they have the ability to change their destiny and be strong women as they grow. To have such a strong female character like Amal at the forefront of this story and have her triumph over immeasurable odds is so important for our children. Amal is strong, determined, brave, and has a strong sense of justice. There is an interesting dichotomy in Amal Unbound as it is made clear the choices of some and the choice that many of us would believe to be right, is not necessarily the best choice for all. There are many talking points and points for debate in this story that will keep children thinking and talking long after they are finished reading.