My name is Parvana
I’ve been very interested in Afghanistan since the 1980s and I eagerly devour as much non-fiction as I can on the diverse cultures, complex history and natural beauty of the country. Ellis’s My name is Parvana was created to be a realistic fiction novel based on the lives of multiple children that the author met during her time in Afghanistan. The importance of education and its positive impact on the lives of girls is readily apparent throughout the book. At the same time the author also emphasizes the trauma of war as it permeates every aspect of life for these Afghan teens. The natural dialogue between friends and family members is both compelling and endearing as it moves the story along. Other scenes from the book do not feel as authentic because the author provides Parvana with reactions that are distinctly American. For example when Parvana smells onions on someone’s breath she mentally references a hamburger not bolani, which is a common Afghan dish.
This book is a good introduction into Afghanistan because it captures the emotions of some of the war-weary populace. For a more Afghan perspective on life in Afghanistan I would recommend Zoya’s Story by John Follain or Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez.
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