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review 2018-06-28 18:13
The Breadwinner (The Breadwinner, #1) by Deborah Ellis
The Breadwinner - Deborah Ellis

I am so happy I read this book! I know I probably should explain what the book is about before I say how I felt about it. But I'm just really excited to talk about how much I loved this book! I first heard about it on BookTube when the animated movie was coming out. When I heard what the subject matter was about, I knew that this is a book that I had to read, and I am so glad I did.

 

The Breadwinner follows a young girl named Parvana living under the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. She and her family try to make the best out of a terrible situation, until one day her father is arrested by the Taliban and she, along with the rest of her family, are left to fend for themselves. Disguised as a boy, Parvana takes it upon herself to provide for her family, find her missing father, all whilst hiding from the Taliban's cruel regime. Because if they were to find out a girl was passing herself as a boy, it would be death not only for Parvana, but her entire family. 

 

Let's start off with the story itself. First off, this is a very hard-hitting book. I love it, yes, but it's not light-hearted in the least. We are reading about war. War is cold. War is violent. War is bloody. War is death. And this book displays the hard truths of war with each page you read. I love it for being as blunt as it is because we need to read about the truth. We need to know about the horrible acts that innocent men had to endure if they went against the Taliban. We need to know that women weren't allowed outside without a man, covered head to toe, and was beaten even if they looked at another man. We need to know young girls were being married off, usually to much older men, and having children whilst they were still children themselves. It's difficult to digest but it's important to know these events are happening in our world. To educate ourselves and to do something about it.

 

There's violence, abuse, starvation, and sickness that men, women, and children experience throughout the book. The violence towards women and young girls are especially prevalent. Ellis writes a story to give women and girls a voice in Afghanistan who have been abused just because of their gender. She does not shy away from giving the gritty details about what these women had to suffer through. Ellis writes a beautiful story about the heartache many families had to endure during this time period and does it in a way where the reader feels empathy and sympathy for them. It hurts to read about, but it's a necessary hurt. Her descriptions of a decrepit Kabul are vivid and devastating. Ellis did a fantastic job in bringing awareness to such issues happening in Afghanistan. And for that, I am grateful.

 

Ellis's characters are also well-written. Each one is as vivid, complex, and beautiful as the next character. Parvana, herself, is such an extraordinary character. She is only eleven-years-old yet she is willing to risk her life for her family. She wants to just have fun and go to school like any child should, but she recognizes the situation she is in calls for other actions and is more than willing to change, to do what she must in order to save herself and her family. She is strong, brave, and amazing. Everyone in her family is like that in their own way. They are just trying to live in the best way they know how. In a war-torn country, there are many people just trying to live to the best of their abilities.

 

Parvana also has a friend called Shauzia and I feel for her so much. She doesn't have as good a living situation as Parvana, and she wants to move as far away as possible. She, too, is brave and strong, but she struggles with leaving because everyone is expecting her to be there for her family... even though her family is abusive. She must come to term with either staying in Afghanistan with an abusive family or making her escape and living a good life in France. She is one of those characters that just breaks your heart and you hope that somehow, someway, they are able to make it out of their situation. I want to continue reading the series just to see what becomes of these beautiful characters.

 

There's another character that appears in the book that I'm very interested in. She only appears during a few scenes, doesn't have any dialogue, but leaves such a powerful impression and I want to know more about her. She is only known as The Woman in the Window and she occasionally threw presents down to Parvana when she was trying to earn a little bit of money. We don't know anything about her but she really is quite fascinating. I want to know more about her and I hope she appears in the other books as well. 

 

And I'm going to end it here. Honestly, I could go on and on about this book. It's absolutely amazing what Ellis has written here. I encourage everyone to read it. And once you do, go watch the movie because it's just as beautiful. I don't love it as much as the book, but it's still good. I highly recommend both! Just keep in mind that there's violence, blood, gore, and abuse. But it is important to learn this story so that, one day, things like this won't ever happen again. So, please, read this book and watch the movie. They are incredible! 

 

I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series. I need to know what's going to happen with Parvana and her family!

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review 2018-01-11 22:08
The Breadwinner
The Breadwinner - Deborah Ellis,Rita Wolf
Eleven-year-old Parvana lives with her family in Kabul. Her father was once a history teacher in this capital city of Afghanistan but the building was bombed and he is sick so he now makes money for the family from a blanket in the marketplace. Parvana accompanies her father to the market where he sells miscellaneous items and he reads letters for people who cannot read or write. As they sit there together, they talk and tell stories and her father yells to the patrons, “Anything written, anything read, Pashto and Dari. Beautiful items for sale.” I thought the time that these two spent alone together was priceless. I could still hear her father calling out to the people long after I had finished reading this novel, the words had created a poetic rhythm within me.
 
Then it happened, they came and arrested her father. Now, the there was no one to provide income for their family. Hearing the news, Parvana takes matters into her own hands and transforms herself into a boy so she can be the breadwinner. This is just one of the many instances where we see Parvana’s determination shine through.
 
I enjoyed how this graphic novel can tell this story so quickly and with such powerful emotions. Using captivating illustrations inside a wide variety of text box sizes this story is wonderful. I liked the short sentences that were used and how many times some of the text boxes had no sentences at all.

 

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review 2015-10-28 22:59
Glad Audible has such a good return policy.
The Breadwinner: The Breadwinner Trilogy - Stevie Kopas,Stevie Kopas,Scott Birney

Based on an author's (or narrator's?) post in a Goodreads group, I tried out the sample available of this book on Audible, liked what I heard, and threw caution to the wind and bought it. It is an interesting slant on the ground AMC trod this summer with Fear the Walking Dead: the very beginning of a zombie apocalypse, as people are still standing and watching creatures who used to be friends and family shambling closer and closer, wondering why cousin Jimmy is so pale, and why is he growling … The Undead in this universe were fast and loud and persistent, and I liked that.

Unfortunately, that's about all I liked.

I didn't much care for any of the characters. One main character, the lawyer Sampson, fluctuates between Slimy Lawyer and Put Upon Nice Guy, to the point that I was uncomfortable when another main character who was a teenaged girl met up with him; I kept expecting the scumbag to re-emerge. I will say all the characters were something more than cardboard … it's just that what they were instead was inconsistent and, unfortunately, ultimately unlikeable. Also, not entirely believable: the level of bickering in the middle of a world-ending crisis might, sadly, have been realistic, but it was incredibly annoying to read - - and, also, I find it hard to believe that, coming upon a CVS that had gone unlooted (which is highly improbable, security gate or no security gate), our heroes not only stock up on water and power bars and lighter fluid but … deodorants. And then a while later use up most if not all of that incredibly valuable lighter fluid on something really stupid for which they could have used any number of other accelerants.

I'll come back to the characters.

The narration had some high highs and low lows. The voice of the narrator and those used for male character voices were mostly fine, though it was a little interesting that two of the three black men in the cast of characters were pretty much identical. The women, though … *shudder* In the book, the women, excepting teenaged heroine Veronica, are at best worthless, at worst "batshit crazy" and overall really horrendous. In the narration, they're the epitome of cliché gay caricature voice – terrible.

The language periodically made me twitch: "the people her and her brother had stumbled upon", for example. And the constant use of "lie" as the past tense for … "lie". I thought it was "lied", which made me see faintly red, but I checked Google Books: nope. Bodies lie about, little islands of present tense in the midst of a past tense book. (Along with "squat" as the past tense for "squat".) A few actions like a man placing a bag on his back are described with such gravity and emphasis that they should be significant. (They aren't.) And things like "Ben shared a laugh with himself", or someone's "happy hands"…? No.

Another bit I didn't much like was what seems to be a nastily right-wing stance (referring to the uber-bitch Juliette as a spoiled liberal – which, no).

Going back to that CVS: First of all, CVS in Florida carries booze? Huh. Anyway. The store was described as having no other door than the front entrance. I find it hard to believe there's any public building without a back door, for trash removal and to comply with fire codes if nothing else.

The car name-dropping gets old; I'm not sure why we need to know exactly what everyone drives, except to make occasional points about some characters' wealth and so on.

The cuts in the narrative are sometimes abrupt and confusing – going from talking about Sampson and Moira to a new chapter (hard to distinguish in an audiobook) and "they all" in the first sentence – but here "they" refers to Abe and company; later, a shift in the other direction, from Abe & co to Sampson.

One thing I have to give some credit to the author for: the tale of what happened to Al. It was, at first, nicely handled – by which I mean the story was withheld and and evaded for quite a while, which I at first found irritating but came to appreciate as – at first – a nice bit of storytelling, good suspense-building. However, it stretched out too long, to the point that when some ([spoiler][never all[/spoiler]) of the details finally came out I had already pretty much figured out what happened and didn't need to be told. There were a few near misses like that in the storytelling – and inconsistencies, such as Veronica telling the story of how her father was attacked – but not as the father told it. She was not there; she has only what her father related to her. Where did the new details in her version come from?

I wanted to continue liking the book. I would have loved to like it more than the afore-mentioned "Fear the Walking Dead", about which I was kind of lukewarm. But "Breadwinner" didn't suffer from comparison – it just suffered from its execution. This wasn't the first time I've had cause to bless Audible's return policy … I wish it would be the last.

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review 2015-03-27 00:00
The Breadwinner (The Breadwinner Trilogy Book 1)
The Breadwinner (The Breadwinner Trilogy Book 1) - Stevie Kopas ABR's full The Breadwinner audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

This is the debut audiobook from a new author Stevie Kopas. I am sure that this will be a welcomed addition to a very crowded genre. As the story is primarily told from the females perspective, not only that but one that is not a survival expert or prepper.

Best part of this particular zombie apocalypse is the fast zombies or eaters as they are often referred to here. I remember the first time I encountered them in 28 Day Later, since then they have always held a very special place in my heart.

There were zombie attack scenes that made me squirm a bit. Kopas was able to inject each of them with just the right amount of terror and gore. The characters grew and evolved right before your eyes. I just couldn’t find a connection to any of them.

While to storyline was solid, I found it difficult to pay attention due to the narration and for this book, maybe the print version would have been much better. There were times that I got confused about whether the story was happening now or then, due to the amount of flashbacks and flash forwards.

This was my first time listening to a performance by Scott Birney. Unfortunately, I will have to think long and hard before choosing another by him. I found his voice pleasant overall, deep and resonating, he speaks clearly and concisely.

Firstly I think he was the wrong choice to narrate a book that is primarily from the female perspective. His strong and deep voice just didn’t fit. Then his pacing was perfectly steady, I find it much more of a pleasant listen when there is a fluctuation of the speed of the reading. Then he sounded almost completely emotionless throughout. The “from the author” at the very end of the book was one of the only points to where Birney added some sort of emotional fluctuation.

Audiobook provided for review by a friend of the author.
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text 2014-12-31 20:39
November/December Round Up
The Breadwinner - Deborah Ellis,Rita Wolf
Chasing Vermeer - Blue Balliett
The Girls of Gettysburg - Bobbi Miller
The Disappearance of Childhood - Neil Postman,Marty Asher
Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
Haunted - Chuck Palahniuk
Etiquette & Espionage - Gail Carriger
Wonderstruck - Brian Selznick
Let the Right One in - John Ajvide Lindqvist
Voyager - Diana Gabaldon

I was so busy with school in November that I didn't get a chance to make a post about the books that I read that month, so I'm combining my November and December books here! I'm pretty proud of how much I was able to read with everything that I had going on. I wasn't quite at the rate that I was at over the summer, but I was able to read more books than I've been able to since school started, which is wonderful!

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