Book review: 'The Favored Daughter' is a touching memoir

By Shelby Scoffield

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, May 2 2013 3:18 p.m. MDT

"THE FAVORED DAUGHTER: One Woman's Fight to Lead Afghanistan into the Future," by Fawzia Koofi, Palgrave Macmillan, $17, 255 pages (nf)

“The Favored Daughter: One Woman’s Fight to Lead Afghanistan into the Future” by Fawzia Koofi is a powerful memoir of a woman’s rise through the political structure in Afghanistan. Koofi’s story is important as the world seeks to understand the Afghan culture and religion.

Fawzia Koofi is Afganistan’s first female Parliament speaker. She is also a contender for the Afghan presidency in 2014.

“The Favored Daughter,” which has recently been released in paperback, starts with Koofi describing her birth and teenage years. The book ends with Koofi explaining her short marriage and her political career and aspirations.

Koofi primarily focuses on what life was like under the Russian and Taliban regimes. She describes the horror of living in constant fear.

Throughout her life, Koofi has witnessed the murder of many family members. Despite the constant tragedy in her life, Koofi decided to become an activist for positive change.

“The Favored Daughter” is a refreshing memoir. Though Koofi describes the horrors of living under Taliban rule, she does not dwell on it for long. Instead Koofi decides to focus on the little acts of humanity and kindness that were performed for her and her family. A memorable instance is when Koofi talks about her being unable to walk around Kabul without a blood relative with her. She describes several men who were willing to help her in times of great need. These men were complete strangers.

“The Favored Daughter” sheds light on Afghani culture and customs. Koofi beautifully describes a nation that is devoted to the Islam religion. She is quick to state that the actions of the Taliban do not reflect on what her nation is like as a whole.

Inserted randomly throughout the book are letters Koofi writes to her two daughters. In the letters she encourages her daughters to become advocates for change. She urges her daughters to become humble women who spend their lives in the service of others.

Koofi’s story has the potential to influence a rising generation of youngsters who can change the world for the better.

The graphic imagery is used to describe the civil war that occurred in Afghanistan in the '90s. Marital intimacies are also mentioned briefly throughout the book.

“The Favored Daughter” was originally printed in hardback in January 2012. It was released in paperback in April.

Shelby Scoffield has a bachelor's in English from Brigham Young University and a master's in rhetoric and composition from Stanislaus State University. She is currently working on her teaching credentials so she can teach high school English.

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