Ever Been Haunted by a Book?

I am.

Haunted by this book, that is:

About a month or so ago, this book was one of the featured books for the Silicon Valley Moms Blog* book club; since I was in the thickets of May (and ever so busy), I passed on the chance to get a free copy to read and review.

But I tucked away the title in the back of my mind, knowing that I'd find myself at the library with my tribe this summer, looking for a few good books to read myself; I've already raced through several when I should have been grabbing some much-needed sleep.

This book, though - dear God, I cannot tell you how this book shook me to my core, how it simultaneously made (makes) me white-hot with fury at the abuse that women - CHILDREN - endure in the name of honor and religion (oh how God, no matter what name you call God, must weep at what horrors are committed in His name, committed by us puny humans who justify our cruelty under the twin banners of Honor and Religion) and chills me with a doubled sadness.

Sadness first as a mother; reading this book, it was never far from my mind that my girl is almost nine. I read the hard parts in a rush, trying my best to keep my imagination in check and failing.

Sadness second as a woman. It was never far from my mind that I was once nine, never far from my mind that by the grace of God and circumstances and through no actions of my own, I was born in the USA, was loved and educated valued as a human being. In my childhood, I was free to wear tank tops, talk to boys, and read a book without fearing for my very life.

It is never easy to come face to face with the truth and the truth of this book, that girls as young as nine are married off to men three and four times their age, that still now, in 2010, there are women who still live as slaves, women and girls who are still traded like cattle and sold like chattel, that truth hurts.

It hurts.

If you read nothing else this summer, read this book.

* SV Moms Blog (and all the blogs under their banner, including Ohio Moms Blog) is effectively closed and done as of July 1, 2010; you can read the press release here and interim CEO Samantha Fein's interview right here.