A Different Kind of Daughter
Maria was born in a part of Pakistan where being a girl means that you must travel with a man at all times, and remain inside the rest of the time. Maria felt trapped, but luckily her parents were free-thinkers that knew how to support their daughter. After Maria burns her dresses, there is no turning back and she lives as a young man for a number of years before being outed on a squash court when pursuing her dream.
I could hardly put this novel down, which was surprising because its basically a memoir. I’ve never heard of her though, so it was all new to me. I did enjoy the ‘journey’ right from the beginning of her life.
I would go mad on ‘house arrest’. Maria was so brave, doing what she really wanted to do – but she also knew she would die if she didn’t play. I didn’t understand how destructive she could be, but I could understand how she felt she had no other options. All the same though, the kitchen seemed like a better place of practice than her bedroom!
Dengue! She catches Dengue virus! That’s my area of work, so I generally get super excited when it is mentioned. Here it is in a real world situation. Although it bring Maria to her knees, it doesn’t make any difference to her desire to play sport.
What wasn’t clear to me is whether Maria identifies as a woman or as a man, or something in between. With all the sports testing that is going on at the moment, I would expect this to be a problem. That’s not a complain about the book though. Just my particular interest in biology and genetics.
I really did enjoy this, and I’d recommend it to a wide range of readers – those who have doubts about Muslims being all part of the Taliban, or people who are interested in elite sport, or people who want to know about some every-day life in Pakistan.