Archive for June, 2010

Zen and the Art of Prison

June 30, 2010

It was great curiosity and fear that I read Piper Kerman’s Orange is The New Black. We both came from nice New England families, graduated from the same college and made foolish mistakes after college. Piper’s mistake was transporting a suitcase full of cash to Europe for a drug dealer. Ten years after the ordeal she finds herself in a minimum security federal prison for a year.

Like the author, post college I was looking for an adventure and would have contemplated something as idiotic as participating in a drug cartel. I do not know if I would have done anything per se, but I certainly would have considered it.
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Girl In Translation, me in shock

June 23, 2010

I zipped through Jean Kwok’s Girl in Translation over a weekend, my mouth agape at the narrator’s journey. It was one of those stories that I wanted to tell myself did not and could not happen, at least not now, at least not in my city. I wish it were that simple.

Kimberly Chang, the narrator immigrates to United States and juggles private school during the day and helping her mother in a sweatshop in the evening, living two diametrically opposed lives, an outsider in both.

I thought about my grandfather emigrating from Eastern Europe when he was a teenager. My dad tells the story of the time my grandfather was a young boy, coming home from buying bread sees his friend’s home bombed. He ran home only to have his mother ask, “where is the bread?” and send him out again. While my life could be considered privileged by many (okay most), I’ve still had my share of struggles which dwarf in comparison to Kimberly Chang’s or my grandfather’s for that matter.
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End of a Chapter

June 17, 2010

I’ve been writing for NYC Mom’s Blog, a site for mommy (and daddy) bloggers, part of the Silicon Valley Moms Blog. In many ways I felt like an impostor on the site.

I’d write my minimum two posts a month, sometimes even sneaking in a third and read about *real* mom bloggers who offered giveaways or generated income from their sites. And me, I’m just a mom from New York who would really like a book deal and manages to squeeze in a bit of writing here and there. When my mom passed, I debated keeping my bimonthly commitment to the site but forced myself to do so. In writing the posts, I found myself revisiting my other blog sites, this one and Milf Alert.
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Oh, Nujood

June 1, 2010

I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced is the story of a ten year old girl in Yemen sold by her impoverished parents to a man triple her age. It was a short easy read, in the sense that I finished it quickly which was good because I am in no mood to dwell on her and her peers’ awful fate.

Despite cultural traditions, I found myself annoyed and frustrated at her mother’s complacent behavior and inability to defend her daughter. If anything Nujood’s older sister was more protective of the ten year old.

What’s even more disturbing is this book is not more than two years old, meaning the custom of marrying a ten year old is still active. I’m not so naive to forget the suffering around the world, but being a mother my heart aches especially for young girls in such awful circumstances. I was challenged to imagine a ten year old enduring her awful experiences away from home in an abusive isolated environment, and part of me appreciated the author’s broad descriptions. I don’t want to envision it because I fear it will consume my emotions.

The role of Nujood’s step mother, for lack of a better word, was downplayed although she is the one that sends the girl to the courthouse eventually leading to her divorce. I’m also amazed that despite everything that has happened to Nujood, divorce and public attention, her life has not changed that much.

I commend Nujood Ali, Glamour’s Woman of the Year 2008 for fighting back and actually inspiring other girls to seek divorces from abusive older men. I just hope it’s not for nought.