Amal Unbound undertakes the challenge to bring to light the injustice of the world, specifically that of gender inequality, social status, and education in a Pakistani village. Through the eyes of a young girl who is taken into indentured servitude, the reader is able to gain a glimpse of the life that is lead my so many people all over the world. This book reminds me of A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett or Lyddie by Katherine Paterson. The subject matter is not a light one, but it is real.
Aisha Saeed does a wonderful job of creating the life of Amal without going too deep into the real-world issues that do exist. It is a great introduction to the issues for this age range. There is also a main theme of the importance of education and gaining knowledge, despite the sacrifices, that is woven throughout the book.
This is the kind of book that sticks with you and keeps you thinking even after you have put it down. It illustrates that are there are at least two sides to every story and people’s actions have consequences that are not foreseen.
Review of an Advance Reader’s Copy provided by the Publisher
Violence/Gore: Report of parent death; child trips, slides, and hits head on table; landlord burns orange groves; minor hit by car; scrapped and bloody hands; bruised leg; report of man burning down entire village intentionally; bruising on the arm of a servant – implied abuse; threat of going to hit; minor slapped by adult in face; threat to leave bruises; words cut like a jagged stone on heart; man is missing; threats; move body – implied killing of person; found another body; man arrested; reference to Malala shot in the head a point blank.
Mature Subject Matter:
Indentured servitude, poverty, parental depression, murder, death.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Adults use a hookah; report of a drunk man.