Monday, January 14, 2013

Burned Alive: a Survivor of an “Honor Killing” Speaks Out by Souad

With a can of gasoline and a match, Souad’s brother-in-law changed her life forever. In this gripping memoir, Souad recounts her childhood in Palestine, where her father considered his daughters less valuable than farm animals, and the events that led to her horrific attempted murder, while pregnant, at the age of seventeen. After she and her unborn child miraculously survive the burning, thanks to some quick-acting village women, she is taken to a hospital where she receives little care as her family and hospital staff hope for her to die. Luckily, Jacqueline, a woman working for a Swiss humanitarian organization, hears about her story and takes pains to get Souad and her newborn son out of the country and into safety.

This memoir is consistently popular with students who are drawn to the incredible story of a young woman who finds herself in an all too common situation -- in love, pregnant, and then abandoned by the man. In Souad’s story, however, the consequences are far more extreme than what many free and independent women can fathom. This book has the potential to open our students’ eyes to the atrocities around the world, and to help them understand and appreciate their own freedoms a little better.


Souad never learned how to write; the result is a book that was dictated in a very simple, straightforward style, following her story from Palestine to Europe. Some parts may be challenging for struggling readers, but the overall text is very accessible, especially for students who have been hooked by the story and are willing to persevere through foreign concepts. --Anja Kennedy

Souad. Burned Alive: a Survivor of an “Honor Killing” Speaks Out. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2004. Print.

1 comment:

Anne Lotito Schuh said...

While we are aware that the book's authenticity has been called into question, the purpose of this blog is to share reviews of titles that engage our particular student population, and Burned Alive does just that. The question of the book's authenticity does not merit removal from our blog or our shelves, but instead presents a teachable moment on publishing ethics and the blurred lines between fiction and nonfiction.