*** A Different Kind of Daughter by Maria Toorpakai

Maria Toorpakai is a world-class squash player. That might be enough to write an interesting biography, but A Different Kind of Daughter: The Girl Who Hid from the Taliban in Plain Sight is not your standard athlete’s story, as Toorpakai is Pashtun, born in the tribal area of Pakistan to (lucky her) enlightened parents but (very unlucky her) at a time when the Taliban mercilessly harassed and killed women who dared want to do something else than stay indoors, cook, clean, and bear children. With her parents’ help, she started her training dressed as a boy, but eventually had to escape to Canada. The story is hair-raising. Be warned: it regularly lapses into strange poetic ruminations that seem rather out-of-place for a young girl or teenager, but perhaps it’s just a cultural gap. Worth reading for the fantastic force of character of the author.

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