I Am Change

BY: Suzy Zail
Image result for I am change zailLocation: FIC ZAI
Genre: Fiction, Feminism,

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.
 

Here is a great review by Laura Altman

"Trigger warnings: rape, domestic violence, female genital mutilation.

Lilian, a young girl growing up in rural Uganda, has big dreams. She's hungry to learn and plans to be the first person in her family to graduate primary school, hoping to one day be a teacher or an author. Unfortunately, Lilian's mother has other plans for her, viewing a good marriage as the only thing that can save her from a life of poverty. Though Lilian is fiercely intelligent, will she be strong enough to resist her mother's pressure and carve out the future she desires? 

I Am Change isn't the type of book I would usually reach for. Generally, I read for pleasure and escape, so I tend to stick to fantasy. I Am Change is the opposite of that; it's gritty, intense and raw. Zail interviewed over 30 girls and spent time in Uganda to research for her novel, and her commitment shows, for the book often seems achingly real. As such, this book isn't an easy one to read. The women in Lilian's world are treated terribly and their existence revolves entirely around pleasing the men in their lives. There are also some very upsetting scenes, almost every woman in I Am Change is violated in some way. We see schoolgirls allowing boys to touch their breasts in exchange for basic stationary supplies, wives being forced to lick their kitchen floors after displeasing their husbands, and even a woman who chooses a life of prostitution to escape her family's attempts to force her to undergo a circumcision procedure. While many of the people around Lilian see this injustice and accept it, attempting to make the best of the situation, Lilian rages against ill treatment and tries to find a way to make her life better.

Zail tells readers that education is the way to escape injustice and poverty. This is an important and empowering message, and I hope the young women who read this book really take this lesson to heart. I Am Change is a powerful and deeply moving book that's certain to make readers cry. "

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