My Rating ~ Five Stars
RELEASE DATE: 1 August 2019
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
They told her that her body belonged to men and her mind didn’t matter. They were wrong.
“What if I don’t want to marry?” Lillian held her breath. She had never said the words out loud. “Not want to marry?” Her aunt frowned. “What else would you do?”
Set in a Ugandan village, Lilian has learned to shrink herself to fit other people’s ideas of what a girl is. In her village a girl is not meant to be smarter than her brother. A girl is not meant to go to school or enjoy her body or decide who to marry. Especially if she is poor.
Thank you so much to Walker Books Australia for providing me with a copy of I Am Change, in exchange for an honest review.
Lillian lives in a village where girls are expected to be married as a teenager, to a man their parent’s select, and live the rest of their lives producing sons and looking after their husbands. They are not expected, or encouraged, to go to school. Why would their families waste money on sending them to school when they don’t require an education?
But Lillian desperately wants to be a writer or a teacher. She can’t help having dreams, even if they seem like impossible ones.
This was such a powerful and beautifully written book. It was harrowing to watch such a strong character be put in situations that felt so utterly hopeless, and at times the subject matter had me feeling true rage (although, if anyone didn’t feel true rage at the rights not afforded to the girls in this book, I would be gravely disappointed).
I Am Change was formed from the true accounts of 30 Ugandan girls who shared their stories with the author, and Suzy Zail did not shy away from the graphic detail of their difficult lives. You’ll find subjects such as child brides, female genital mutilation, rape and domestic violence here. You’ll see school girls trading inappropriate touches for pens and paper they need, girls forced to take a back seat to the men in their family, even forgoing food when they are hungry to ensure their brothers get the most to eat. Most of the villagers, and even the girls themselves, accept their fate as just part of life, but Lillian uses her hopes and dreams to find the courage to rise up and try to fight against the outdated traditions and treatment of women. The subject matter meant this was not an easy book to read, but it was thought provoking and inspiring, while using language that had me completely immersed in the story. I’d highly recommend the book to everyone. I really didn’t want to put it down.
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