CHARGE (What is the author trying to say?): To memorialize memories of Afghanistan, the place of her birth.
FACTS: The author was born in a time of the most democratic and modern reforms in Afghanistan. Education and professional life was open to women. When the socialists take power and the Russian’s ultimately invade the country, everything changes. The author’s mother and several of her siblings flee to India where the mother has open heart surgery. Enjeela and her remaining siblings make a treacherous journey to the safety of Pakistan with a paid escort, traveling by foot for the majority of the journey. What they learn as they travel, teaches them about themselves, each other, and the world around them. The entire family is ultimately reunited in India and resettles in the United States. The book opens with a description of the author’s lavish life in the US. This should have been omitted, as it makes later contentions in the book about her growing empathy for those less fortunate ring false.
VERDICT (Was the author successful?): Guilty, as charged. The book is beautifully written and is a gritty coming-of-age under extreme circumstances.