Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai

When I read a book I usually trust the author - he or she will make everything all right in the end but with this book I was so devastated by the opening scene I just had to skip to the last page to make sure.

The title of this book Shooting Kabul has two meanings. If you look very carefully you can see a piece of film surrounding the title.  Fadi has a precious camera and if he can shoot a winning picture he might get back to Kabul.

Fadi, his mother Zafoona, his father Habib, older sister Noor and baby sister Mariam need to flee from Afghanistan after Habib is asked to work for the Taliban against the Americans.  The family had been living in the US but returned to Afghanistan hoping to assist their people but instead the regime has become completely repressive - no books, music, movies, photography or even kite flying.  Girls cannot go to school and life is extremely dangerous.

As the family reach their transport - provided by a people smuggler who has demanded a high price for his services - Fadi loses his grip on Mariam's hand and the family drive away without her. At this point I could hardly keep reading.  I was so worried about this little six year old girl.  The family arrive in America but poor Fadi is so riddled with guilt.  Everything reminds him of his precious sister.  Weeks go by and still she is not found even though everyone is looking.  Fadi starts school and encounters some truly horrible bullies.  This was another scene in Shooting Kabul that I almost could not read. I knew those bullies would beat Fadi and worse they might discover the box of treasures he has carried for Mariam.  Then Fadi hears about a photographic competition.  The prize is a plane ticket to India.  Fadi knows if he can get to India he can then set off over the border to look for his sister.

Here is an interview with the author. You can read more details of the plot here.  Here is an interesting way to present this book - a glog.

I highly recommend Shooting Kabul.  It is a heart-wrenching story told with compassion and insight. I read the whole book in one sitting and for me that is a sure fire way to know I enjoyed a book.

After reading this book (which I highly recommend you do) you might look for Soraya the storyteller by Rosanne Hawke, Boy overboard by Morris Gleitzman, Oranges in no mans land by Elizabeth Laird, Extra Credit by Andrew Clements and The colour of Home by Mary Hoffman.

One more thing all through this book Fadi makes links to a book he is reading - From the Mixed up files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler so you might like to check that one out too.

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