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An emotional and sweeping memoir of love and survival—and of a committed and desperate family uprooted and divided by the violent, changing landscape of Afghanistan in the early 1980s. Before the Soviet invasion of 1980, Enjeela Ahmadi remembers her home—Kabul, Afghanistan—as peaceful, prosperous, and filled with people from all walks of life. But after her mother, unsettle An emotional and sweeping memoir of love and survival—and of a committed and desperate family uprooted and divided by the violent, changing landscape of Afghanistan in the early 1980s. Before the Soviet invasion of 1980, Enjeela Ahmadi remembers her home—Kabul, Afghanistan—as peaceful, prosperous, and filled with people from all walks of life. But after her mother, unsettled by growing political unrest, leaves for medical treatment in India, the civil war intensifies, changing young Enjeela’s life forever. Amid the rumble of invading Soviet tanks, Enjeela and her family are thrust into chaos and fear when it becomes clear that her mother will not be coming home. Thus begins an epic, reckless, and terrifying five-year journey of escape for Enjeela, her siblings, and their father to reconnect with her mother. In navigating the dangers ahead of them, and in looking back at the wilderness of her homeland, Enjeela discovers the spiritual and physical strength to find hope in the most desperate of circumstances. A heart-stopping memoir of a girl shaken by the brutalities of war and empowered by the will to survive, The Broken Circle brilliantly illustrates that family is not defined by the borders of a country but by the bonds of the heart.


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An emotional and sweeping memoir of love and survival—and of a committed and desperate family uprooted and divided by the violent, changing landscape of Afghanistan in the early 1980s. Before the Soviet invasion of 1980, Enjeela Ahmadi remembers her home—Kabul, Afghanistan—as peaceful, prosperous, and filled with people from all walks of life. But after her mother, unsettle An emotional and sweeping memoir of love and survival—and of a committed and desperate family uprooted and divided by the violent, changing landscape of Afghanistan in the early 1980s. Before the Soviet invasion of 1980, Enjeela Ahmadi remembers her home—Kabul, Afghanistan—as peaceful, prosperous, and filled with people from all walks of life. But after her mother, unsettled by growing political unrest, leaves for medical treatment in India, the civil war intensifies, changing young Enjeela’s life forever. Amid the rumble of invading Soviet tanks, Enjeela and her family are thrust into chaos and fear when it becomes clear that her mother will not be coming home. Thus begins an epic, reckless, and terrifying five-year journey of escape for Enjeela, her siblings, and their father to reconnect with her mother. In navigating the dangers ahead of them, and in looking back at the wilderness of her homeland, Enjeela discovers the spiritual and physical strength to find hope in the most desperate of circumstances. A heart-stopping memoir of a girl shaken by the brutalities of war and empowered by the will to survive, The Broken Circle brilliantly illustrates that family is not defined by the borders of a country but by the bonds of the heart.

30 review for The Broken Circle: A Memoir of Escaping Afghanistan

  1. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    This was my February choice for the 'Amazon Prime first reads' and I chose it because I thought a first person account of escaping from Afghanistan at the time of the Russian invasion was sure to be interesting. Unfortunately I was a bit disappointed by the way in which the tale was delivered. It's possible to write a great book about a not-so-interesting life but it's also (sadly) very easy to take a fascinating story and deliver it in such a bland way that it fails to hit the target. We learn This was my February choice for the 'Amazon Prime first reads' and I chose it because I thought a first person account of escaping from Afghanistan at the time of the Russian invasion was sure to be interesting. Unfortunately I was a bit disappointed by the way in which the tale was delivered. It's possible to write a great book about a not-so-interesting life but it's also (sadly) very easy to take a fascinating story and deliver it in such a bland way that it fails to hit the target. We learn at the end of the book that Enjeela doesn't seem to have written this herself so much as recounting it to some kind of ghost writer and it has a real 'ghosted' feel about it. Sometimes the amount of detail is just too much to be credible for such a young child's memory. Other times, there's just not enough detail - weeks, months pass with absolutely nothing happening. The life this woman lived as a young girl travelling overland with the help of some fabulously kind people is very interesting and surprisingly free from the kind of perils that a fiction writer would almost certainly have piled on top. I applaud the author and her ghost for not going too over the top on exaggeration. People are really kind, the money never seems to run out, nobody gets lost or raped or beaten or ........ all the other stuff that could so easily have happened. But stylistically it'll take more than throwing in a few extracts of classical Islamic poets to up-grade this from a 'he-said-she-said-then-we-did-this' kind of book. I wasn't very aware that Afghanistan had been quite a modern, progressive society before the Russian backed communists took over. This is a period that's received a lot less literary attention than the days of the Taliban, and for that it's well worth a read. It's very much a tale of a super-privileged family with plenty of money to fall back on, but that's not a bad thing. Enjeela A-M has had a fascinating life. If she writes another book, I hope she'll pick a better ghost writer as this one doesn't seem to have done justice to her interesting story.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Stark

    Beautifully written, gripping, and heart-breaking! I only wish it was longer and told more details of their travel to and life in America.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    I've been an Amazon Prime member for years now. However, it was only last month that I discovered their First Reads program where members can receive one free eBook each month out of a small selection. I'm increasingly interested in nonfiction and the premise here sounded adventurous and educational, so it's my first choice. The Broken Circle tells the heartbreaking tale of an Afghan family forced to leave their motherland due to the Soviet invasion and socialist revolution. I'd consider myself m I've been an Amazon Prime member for years now. However, it was only last month that I discovered their First Reads program where members can receive one free eBook each month out of a small selection. I'm increasingly interested in nonfiction and the premise here sounded adventurous and educational, so it's my first choice. The Broken Circle tells the heartbreaking tale of an Afghan family forced to leave their motherland due to the Soviet invasion and socialist revolution. I'd consider myself mostly ignorant of the history and culture surrounding the Middle East, so it was surprising to learn about the modernity and relative progressiveness of Afghanistan before the devastation, at least in Kabul. I enjoyed the emotional narrative and uplifting perspective we're presented. This story is odd in the way it's told. The accounting is simultaneously simplistic but evocative, sometimes vapid and other times thoroughly consuming. Even at their lowest points living in complete squalor where death could await around any corner, the family's privileged upbringing seems to permeate these pages. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that; they seem mostly wonderful, raised in an enviable lifestyle while maintaining a generous spirit. However, as the author herself admits, it increased their survivability where many others were less fortunate. While she doesn't shy away from highlighting injustices surrounding their journey, often times there appeared to be a lack of introspection regarding the turmoils faced by others, even her own siblings also engaged in shared hardships. Some of the information presented seemed a bit dubious. It's established from the beginning that this is an affluent family, but how did the children seriously store and conceal enough money that allowed them to reside in a Pakistani hotel for months on end? They trekked miles over desert and mountain, through the mud, were completely submerged under water, caught in a battle, and encountered unsavory types along the way. The good fortune is either completely favorable happenstance or divine intervention. Another fault in my view is the nature of this writer, meaning it's revealed to be a ghost writer providing the report of Enjeela. This adds weight to some of the uncertainty surrounding the truthfulness of events. Right from the first few chapters I found myself furrowing my brow with incredulity regarding the maturity and recollections of our author. My book says she was born in 1975, but the author's official website states 1976. Since the Soviets invaded at the end of 1979, that would put her at the age of 4 or 5 for these events, making large swathes of the story highly unrealistic. Skepticism aside, I did enjoy this book. It's predominantly my doubts about the veracity of the account combined with a flat narrator voice keeping me from a higher rating. It's a breezy, enticing read that many will enjoy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    I really feel like I was duped by this book. And I think it falls more in the category of fiction than memoir. Implausible is the best description that comes to mind. The reader is not told until the end that this was not written by Enjeela Ahmadi-Miller, but instead by a ghost writer. It quickly becomes apparent when you start reading that these are not the memories of a 7-10 year old. She never mentions how old she is as she escapes Afghanistan, but she does say that she was born in 1975, and I really feel like I was duped by this book. And I think it falls more in the category of fiction than memoir. Implausible is the best description that comes to mind. The reader is not told until the end that this was not written by Enjeela Ahmadi-Miller, but instead by a ghost writer. It quickly becomes apparent when you start reading that these are not the memories of a 7-10 year old. She never mentions how old she is as she escapes Afghanistan, but she does say that she was born in 1975, and the Soviet invasion began in 1979, and her and part of her family escape a few years after it starts. So I understand her to be about 7 when they escape. There is simply too much detail, and deep thinking about the state of the world to believe that a 7 year old child is sharing her memories. She describes in great detail the architecture of a building in Kathmandu. She is also very quick to claim she was the bravest and did all these amazing, daring things. Her mother and a few siblings left earlier, with passports, to India. She left later with her other siblings, but by a much more dangerous and challenging route, followed by her father months later. There are so many unanswered questions. Why didn’t they all get passports when the other half of her family did? Why didn’t they all leave together? She mentions, frequently, that they were very wealthy. Throughout the whole book Enjeela pats herself on the back for being so brave and daring, and for being the only true and kind one among her siblings. She really doesn’t seem to like her siblings. By the end, after they reach India, the only sibling that is ever mentioned is her youngest, Vida, who went earlier with their mother to India. What happened to all the others? What happened to her oldest sibling who married before the invasion? Enjeela is very self-centered, for all her bragging. She makes every effort to appear as the most humble and thoughtful, but it is clear early on that she is creating an image of herself. I am still baffled that this can be touted as a memoir. I am really disappointed in this book. There are so many true and heartfelt, actual

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joan Buell

    Emotional and touching memoir This is a beautifully written account of life in Afghanistan before it became a Wharton country. Through the eyes of a five-year-old girl we see her comfortable life, in a large Muslim family in Kabul. Then democracy and peace are shattered, first with civil turmoil, and then by the invasion of the Russian army. Her security is rattled when her mother and 2 siblings leave for India. The remaining four children have to care for themselves, because their father, who wo Emotional and touching memoir This is a beautifully written account of life in Afghanistan before it became a Wharton country. Through the eyes of a five-year-old girl we see her comfortable life, in a large Muslim family in Kabul. Then democracy and peace are shattered, first with civil turmoil, and then by the invasion of the Russian army. Her security is rattled when her mother and 2 siblings leave for India. The remaining four children have to care for themselves, because their father, who works for the American embassy , is consumed with work and then seeks his own comfort in alcohol. Soviet tanks rumble down their street, and life is unsafe. Where is Mommy? Will she ever come back? Eventually Father arranges for a guide to smuggle the children to Pakistan. The account of this journey, and their subsequent wait in Pakistan for their father to follow is filled with vivid detail, pathos, and a near loss of hope. Little Enjeela has many sad experiences yet clings to the hope that they will one day be together again, and this hope is fulfilled.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    Engaging + Enlightening I read this quickly and was very interested in this true story about immigration and being a political refugee. The topic is, of course, very relevant at this point in our own American history as we struggle to come to a new chapter in how the USA grapples with border security, a need for capable workers, and our history as a welcoming country for refugees.

  7. 4 out of 5

    James Allen

    A tragic true story with a happy ending. It brought tears to my eyes several times.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Neela

    A beautifully written memoir ! An absolutely awesome and unputdownable book, highly recommend it !! Just loved it, loved it, LOVED it !!!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Zohal

    A nice story but the plain writing made it hard to be engaged with the story.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lesley Potts

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Over the years, I’ve read a few books about Afghanistan: Eric Newby’s classic “ A Short Walk in the HinduKush,” the textile mystery “The Afghan Amulet,” and “The Kite Runner” which was also a very good movie. This book, which I fat fingered on my Kindle, presents a very different view of the goings on in that war torn, troubled country. The first two books I mention were written by foreigners who chose to explore the country before it became impossible to do so. The third book was fiction, descr Over the years, I’ve read a few books about Afghanistan: Eric Newby’s classic “ A Short Walk in the HinduKush,” the textile mystery “The Afghan Amulet,” and “The Kite Runner” which was also a very good movie. This book, which I fat fingered on my Kindle, presents a very different view of the goings on in that war torn, troubled country. The first two books I mention were written by foreigners who chose to explore the country before it became impossible to do so. The third book was fiction, describing the horrors occurring under the Taliban. This memoir, badly ghost written in my opinion, tells how, from the viewpoint of a kindergartner, a very wealthy family escaped from the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. It could have been gripping. Instead, we read about the preoccupations of a small girl. I cannot deny that walking across the Hindu Kush as a refugee is a heart wrenching experience for anyone, let alone a child separated from her parents. However, there are so many unanswered questions that perplexed this reader. The family are very wealthy, yet somehow the mother sets up a fabulous residence in India and undergoes multiple surgeries, the other siblings are guided along a circuitous route across several countries by a trustworthy coyote and then stay in hotel for many months until their father rejoins them, he doesn’t work for several years and still they haven’t run out of savings. The biggest mystery after how they had so much money is why a “friend” the father hadn’t seen in a long while would spend three weeks finagling tickets, driving fruitlessly to various border crossings, and endure a beating trying to get them out of the country. And then, after a couple of years, as their options run out, the family moves to America, just like that. I have my own theories as to how this all could come about and it would make for a much more interesting story.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Lawson

    Beautiful, beautiful book. This book helped me understand Islam. It helped me understand a whole lot of things. This is a true story, of a child fleeing Afghanistan. The strength of that child is tremendous. At an extremely young age, she chooses to love and to live without compromise. Love this passage. A young girl has been sold into slavery, (view spoiler)[and is killed because she is caught playing, being a child. (hide spoiler)] I’d made a trade in that little place: my simple way of seeing the Beautiful, beautiful book. This book helped me understand Islam. It helped me understand a whole lot of things. This is a true story, of a child fleeing Afghanistan. The strength of that child is tremendous. At an extremely young age, she chooses to love and to live without compromise. Love this passage. A young girl has been sold into slavery, (view spoiler)[and is killed because she is caught playing, being a child. (hide spoiler)] I’d made a trade in that little place: my simple way of seeing the world, for Mina’s face, her vibrancy, her deep desire to see beyond her narrow life she’d been fated to, sold into slavery by her parents, into an anonymous existence. If she couldn’t leave with me, I wanted to live for her, for what she could have discovered. The word building is incredible, even more incredible because it is utter reality. Enjeela Ahmadi-Miller manages to bring forth truth and beauty even as she pulls no punches and lays bare realities many of us couldn't face.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Thelma

    This a trues story, the story of Enjeela Ahmadi-Miller her story was heartbreaking in so many ways, it was really raw and vivid and we could feel the angst each character was experiencing at all times. I really didn't know much about Afghanistan before just what we usually see on the news and sometimes in a few conversations I had in the past with my father but I never knew how was like it before the war, before the Russian invasion. The Broken Circle is the story of a family who is trying to sur This a trues story, the story of Enjeela Ahmadi-Miller her story was heartbreaking in so many ways, it was really raw and vivid and we could feel the angst each character was experiencing at all times. I really didn't know much about Afghanistan before just what we usually see on the news and sometimes in a few conversations I had in the past with my father but I never knew how was like it before the war, before the Russian invasion. The Broken Circle is the story of a family who is trying to survive all these awful changes that are practically ripping apart many families and making their country into something it wasn't. The people of Afghanistan had different beliefs and traditions many were very empathic, kind, and lovable but the new regime changes everything even the textbooks in school trying to make all men angry with the world. they even change the religion making people angrier beside kinder. The broken circle is the story of Enjeela Ahmadi, a beautiful young lady who narrates every single change and burden they had to endure to be able to finally live in peace.. when the Russian regimen arrive her family had to escape and find a way to survive in another country. after many years, of separation and many terrible situations, Enjeela finally meets her family this time it is forever. One of the things that I had a very hard time with, was when Enjeela mother left, I never understood why she wasn't caring and loving with Enjeela, she only wanted someone to care and shower her with affection, I felt her sadness and her low self-esteem when things like that happened to her What I love about this book is to see the change in Enjeela, you can definitely see how much she has changed when they arrive in India, as she no longer wants to spend her time and money in vanities, she has suffered a lot and now she knows the value of things especially the value of her family. so many things to learn about other countries that news keep showing as if they really were nothing but dust and guns, it was beautiful to know more about a country that has been very misunderstood, I wish many of us knew how beautiful Afghanistan was before the invaders arrive (The invaders are always the ones who destroy the beauty of our countries, people and tradition) I want to send all my love and admirations to Enjeela thank you for showing us your strength and determination with your words. I really recommend reading this book it was a nice journey even if it was sad at times.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nada

    Thank you @amazonpublishing for sending me a free copy in exchange for a review. The Deets: Set in Kabul, Afghanistan, we follow the story of Enjeela Ahmandi’s five-year journey of escape to India to be reunited with her mother and the rest of her siblings. A memoir telling the story about survival, self-discovery, and war. Just my thoughts: It started out fairly well. The story was told through the eyes of five-year-old Enjeela where she had that perfect family and childhood. In came the war, and Thank you @amazonpublishing for sending me a free copy in exchange for a review. The Deets: Set in Kabul, Afghanistan, we follow the story of Enjeela Ahmandi’s five-year journey of escape to India to be reunited with her mother and the rest of her siblings. A memoir telling the story about survival, self-discovery, and war. Just my thoughts: It started out fairly well. The story was told through the eyes of five-year-old Enjeela where she had that perfect family and childhood. In came the war, and shattered the life that she has known. I haven’t ever read a memoir before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I loved reading about Afghanistan, their culture, the family bonding, and this book spoke details about that. As I have read lots of books about war, there was nothing new with this one. But then again, usually I find that every book talking about war experiences are typically just the same. The whole idea of being a refugee, being forced out of your country to find a safer place. Surviving the war but leaving some kind of mark that would forever be remembered. It did have a unique vibe though, and Enjeela was the youngest I have ever read for experiencing the brutality of the war. Especially the idea of her getting separated from her parents at such a young age. I also loved how strong she was, her personality and I can't help but admire her. All in favor, should I say Aye? I would say pick it up. It’s worth the read especially if you are a fan of books about war and the Middle East. Do you have space on your shelf? I’d say burrow. Make up your mind about it first before purchasing it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joann

    Anjeela Ahmadi, is one of eight children in a wealthy family in Kabul. The author remembers her enchanted childhood before war as a time of “fun and camaraderie.” Her father, Padar, an engineer by training, worked at the American Embassy down the street from their house in a wealthy neighborhood. His elegant wife, Miriam, was “a modern woman” who sewed beautiful clothes for the children and didn't wear a burka. She had a heart problem that would eventually take her and two of her daughters to In Anjeela Ahmadi, is one of eight children in a wealthy family in Kabul. The author remembers her enchanted childhood before war as a time of “fun and camaraderie.” Her father, Padar, an engineer by training, worked at the American Embassy down the street from their house in a wealthy neighborhood. His elegant wife, Miriam, was “a modern woman” who sewed beautiful clothes for the children and didn't wear a burka. She had a heart problem that would eventually take her and two of her daughters to India. Then the Soviets invaded the country and no one was safe, especially her father who was always being followed by the Russians. The most harrowing section of the narrative is when the father pays a man to whisk the remaining children into Pakistan without their father. Their leaving of Afhanistan to Pakistan took them six months. This is a book full of love and hope for the future.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    From a privileged childhood in a wealthy household in Kabul the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan in late 1979 drives Enjeela Ahmadi and three of her siblings out of their country into danger and hardship on a five-year odyssey across several borders to reunite with the rest of their family. The story itself is gripping, though the writing makes it obvious that this was ghost-written as a lot of the details are simply not believable as the memories of a young child set down decades later. A lot of From a privileged childhood in a wealthy household in Kabul the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan in late 1979 drives Enjeela Ahmadi and three of her siblings out of their country into danger and hardship on a five-year odyssey across several borders to reunite with the rest of their family. The story itself is gripping, though the writing makes it obvious that this was ghost-written as a lot of the details are simply not believable as the memories of a young child set down decades later. A lot of questions remain unanswered.

  16. 4 out of 5

    OjoAusana

    Great read I really enjoyed reading this book! What amazing things to go through in life, especially as a child. Unlike other memoirs ive read this book had a nice time frame and didnt speed through or drag out anything that was unnecessary as well.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Naomi Schnee

    Enjeela's story is incredible and has such wonderful and bright writing, it was difficult to believe it was under 300 pages. Each sentence and paragraph kept you so engaged, what could have been a quick read was actually a practice in reflection. I will gladly recommend this book to others, it was that impactful, and has inspired me to look into more books about Afghan history.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    While I appreciate Ahmadi-Miller sharing her story of escape from Afghanistan in the 1980s, I had a few issues with this memoir. As a child of about 10 years old from a wealthy Afghani family, she and three of her older siblings fled Kabul on foot during the Soviet invasion, crossing into Pakistan where they were reunited with their father. From there, the family eventually made its way to India where Ahmadi-Miller's mother and other siblings lived. (Side note: It was unclear to me how old Ahmad While I appreciate Ahmadi-Miller sharing her story of escape from Afghanistan in the 1980s, I had a few issues with this memoir. As a child of about 10 years old from a wealthy Afghani family, she and three of her older siblings fled Kabul on foot during the Soviet invasion, crossing into Pakistan where they were reunited with their father. From there, the family eventually made its way to India where Ahmadi-Miller's mother and other siblings lived. (Side note: It was unclear to me how old Ahmadi-Miller and her siblings were during this period. 10 years old is probably the most she could have been and I have no idea how old her siblings were supposed to be. I wish she had been clearer about this though.) Ahmadi-Miller's travels through war-torn Afghanistan exposed her to ways of life outside of Kabul that were drastically different from her own way of life; she is haunted in particular by one girl she meets in a village who was sold by her parents and married to a much older man at the age of 7. But there is a significant lack of reflection on the adult Ahmadi-Miller's part. She seems horrified that acts like this are commonplace in Afghanistan, yet seemingly has done nothing to help Afghani women and children who are caught up in this way of life. (This is particularly noteworthy because Ahmadi-Miller's family is very wealthy, and the author biography at the end of the memoir makes clear that she has become a very successful entrepreneur in her own right. Is any of that money going to helping Afghani women?) Coupled with the lack of reflection, "The Broken Circle" felt laser focused on Ahmadi-Miller which bothered me as the narrative progressed. She never gives any of her siblings distinctive personalities, including the bother and two sisters she spends her journey with. She frequently shows the reader how brave and daring she is, seemingly in contrast to her siblings who come off as more like bodyguards for Ahmadi-Miller than anything else. When they arrive in India, Ahmadi-Miller recounts her reunion with her mother in such a way that it seems her mother cared only about her, while ignoring all of her other siblings. After a while, her story feels self-centered. Given that this is a memoir about family, I would have liked to know more about her siblings and how they were coping with their situation. Finally, I think there was a missed opportunity with this memoir to show Afghanistan prior to the Soviet invasion. Ahmadi-Miller touches on this a bit in the first couple of chapters but only in the vaguest of terms. I'm assuming that this was written for an American audience, so most readers probably imagine Afghanistan as being very conservative socially and politically. Ahmadi-Miller clearly loves her birth country and I wish that she had spent more time showing readers what life in Kabul was like prior to the country's shift to communism.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

    How the 1% survive as refugees..... This is certainly a compelling narrative of hardship, perseverance, and courage. The story is well-told and gripping, painting a vivid picture of Afghanistan and nearby countries in the 1980s. What was disconcerting is the lack of the author's substantive reflection or awareness on how incredibly privileged she was as a refugee. Her father seems to have an endless supply of money for hotels, trains, planes, food, clothes, bribes, etc--even when he isn't able t How the 1% survive as refugees..... This is certainly a compelling narrative of hardship, perseverance, and courage. The story is well-told and gripping, painting a vivid picture of Afghanistan and nearby countries in the 1980s. What was disconcerting is the lack of the author's substantive reflection or awareness on how incredibly privileged she was as a refugee. Her father seems to have an endless supply of money for hotels, trains, planes, food, clothes, bribes, etc--even when he isn't able to work for months or maybe years. While the author is moved by her encounter with Mina, she shows just passing concern for the plight of the vast majority of Afghanis who would not have gazillions of aghanis to spend on such a long and perilous journey. While reflecting on her journey near the end of the book (p. 230), she remembers almost disdainfully how she ate like "impoverished peasants." I would have liked to see more compassion and generosity toward those "impoverished peasants" -- those who couldn't afford to buy their way out. Maybe proceeds from the book could go to UN refugee resettlement? From her bio it looks like she has more than enough money....

  20. 5 out of 5

    Anwen Hayward

    A lot of this is pretty clearly made up - sorry, I don't buy for a second that an 8 year old girl stared down a wolf that was feeding on a deer carcass and was saved from death because she and the wolf felt that they were 'kin' - and the ghostwriter has used a weirdly flat narrative voice, but the story itself is pretty amazing. I'd give it a 3.5 if I could, but alas, I can't.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    Poetic and gripping account I loved this tale of a little girl caught up in Afghanistan’s troubles. The voice is delightful, the descriptions evocative and the story keeps you on the edge of your seat. A wonderful testament to family love and determination in hard times.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    It is hard to imagine what people go through to just to have a chance at happiness and a “normal life”. The strength human spirit is an amazing gift that we should all embrace.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kaylee Hartwig

    I really enjoyed this book and didn't want to put it down. There are 2 reasons I give it 4 instead of 5 stars. The first is that if you pay attention to the dates, it seems that Enjeela would have only been around 3 years old when the story started and maybe up to 7 when it ended. While some people can have memories from as young as 3, I would truly be surprised if she could remember as many specific details as were given in the book. There were many parts where it seemed that she rationalized, I really enjoyed this book and didn't want to put it down. There are 2 reasons I give it 4 instead of 5 stars. The first is that if you pay attention to the dates, it seems that Enjeela would have only been around 3 years old when the story started and maybe up to 7 when it ended. While some people can have memories from as young as 3, I would truly be surprised if she could remember as many specific details as were given in the book. There were many parts where it seemed that she rationalized, acted, and took in what was going on as an older child. It makes me question how much was made up or elaborated on for the story. Perhaps some details were filled in later by her parents and older siblings, but if that were the case, I'd liked for her to have acknowledged that. On that note, the other reason is that after the book was over, one of the last pages gives credit to a man she "worked with" in writing the book. He was not credited on the cover and that is information I'd like to know as I pick a book. Back to her specific memories from her youth, I then question how much was truth and how much was his artistic liberty with storytelling. Nevertheless, a well written, thought provoking book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Becky J

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This reads to me like the author is definitely a narcissist (constant stories about how great she is and how the others around her (her siblings) are terrible and she's better than them) who got to sit down with a ghostwriter and have him shape her narcissism into an overarching story. But I still found it an engaging read. (And to be fair, getting abandoned by both parents in a time of war seems like exactly the circumstances likely to turn a small child into a narcissist.) The scene at the end This reads to me like the author is definitely a narcissist (constant stories about how great she is and how the others around her (her siblings) are terrible and she's better than them) who got to sit down with a ghostwriter and have him shape her narcissism into an overarching story. But I still found it an engaging read. (And to be fair, getting abandoned by both parents in a time of war seems like exactly the circumstances likely to turn a small child into a narcissist.) The scene at the end where she's reunited with her mother and her mother seemingly totally ignores all of her other kids to dote on Enjeela for days, bathe her and brush her hair while the rest of the world just disappears? Sounds to me like the fantasy of an extremely emotionally damaged small child - which I suspect a significant chunk of the book was. I read all of the exaggeration and self-praise through that lens.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Yoo

    The writing: - some of the sentences are similar to third grade writing whereas other sentences appear to be written by a more experienced writer. - seems like the ghostwriter took some liberties with the details. it’s not credible that Enjeela would remember every little detail about every single aspect of her journey. even if she kept a journal as a child, that child journalist would not have documented everything. - the writing makes for a choppy read. there’s no rhythm or flow. The story: - th The writing: - some of the sentences are similar to third grade writing whereas other sentences appear to be written by a more experienced writer. - seems like the ghostwriter took some liberties with the details. it’s not credible that Enjeela would remember every little detail about every single aspect of her journey. even if she kept a journal as a child, that child journalist would not have documented everything. - the writing makes for a choppy read. there’s no rhythm or flow. The story: - the author merely reports what happens in chronological order. - here’s an opportunity to reflect as an adult on a past childhood experience, which is squandered. - the child narrator doesn’t grow and we don’t see a transformation in her character. we only see a few sentences acknowledging that she had an epiphany that there were people much less fortunate than her.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sunhawk

    Fascinating; a window into a mysterious part of the world, and how people scramble to stay alive there. The voice in the story is young, as befits this child's story, and the fact that it is written by someone whose first language isn't English. It's a "road" story, its central feature the escape from Soviet take-over by four well-to-do children over the war-torn mountains of Afghanistan: pretty much everything that one might expect -- gunfire, scorpions, poverty, thievery, kindness, bureaucrati Fascinating; a window into a mysterious part of the world, and how people scramble to stay alive there. The voice in the story is young, as befits this child's story, and the fact that it is written by someone whose first language isn't English. It's a "road" story, its central feature the escape from Soviet take-over by four well-to-do children over the war-torn mountains of Afghanistan: pretty much everything that one might expect -- gunfire, scorpions, poverty, thievery, kindness, bureaucratic stupidity -- included. What an interesting experience this "if it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger" trek must have been for the child telling this story from the security of well-to-do adulthood. Thank you for the telling, Enjeela.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    I am delighted that fiction burnout and my quest for relevant reading led me to The Broken Circle. This is a gripping book. Children should not have to be put through travails such as this. Why must men band together and continually keep tearing down life? Yes, men. I have yet to see a group of women attempt to overthrow a government. It is a miracle that Enjeela and her siblings lived through these ordeals and came out the other side whole. I don't want to give anything away, other than my extr I am delighted that fiction burnout and my quest for relevant reading led me to The Broken Circle. This is a gripping book. Children should not have to be put through travails such as this. Why must men band together and continually keep tearing down life? Yes, men. I have yet to see a group of women attempt to overthrow a government. It is a miracle that Enjeela and her siblings lived through these ordeals and came out the other side whole. I don't want to give anything away, other than my extreme aggravation with the mother. Read the book. There is more than hardship - love is in these pages, along with hope, culture and victory.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    The story of her family’s emigration/escape out of Afghanistan, during the war (1970s), and into India via Pakistan-Bangladesh-Nepal was really interesting. I have friends who were forced to leave Bhutan and they traveled through the exact same area of India to get to Nepal, where they then lived in refugee camps for 15-20 years, before being able to find new homes in countries around the world, including America. The writing isn’t the best and I would have liked to read more about how her family The story of her family’s emigration/escape out of Afghanistan, during the war (1970s), and into India via Pakistan-Bangladesh-Nepal was really interesting. I have friends who were forced to leave Bhutan and they traveled through the exact same area of India to get to Nepal, where they then lived in refugee camps for 15-20 years, before being able to find new homes in countries around the world, including America. The writing isn’t the best and I would have liked to read more about how her family was finally able to make it to America from New Delhi and what her family did once in America, so that’s why only 3 stars. For more information on the global refugee crisis: https://worldrelief.org/seekingrefuge

  29. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    The children and father certainly had a lot of resilience as they made their way from Kabul to Pakistan. The thing that strikes me the most though is how much money the family must have had in order to survive so long with neither parent working. They maintained 2 residences for several years plus the children had enough money to stay at a hotel for 6 months in Pakistan while waiting for their father to show up. Plus all the money they had to pay out in bribes and or transportation trying to get The children and father certainly had a lot of resilience as they made their way from Kabul to Pakistan. The thing that strikes me the most though is how much money the family must have had in order to survive so long with neither parent working. They maintained 2 residences for several years plus the children had enough money to stay at a hotel for 6 months in Pakistan while waiting for their father to show up. Plus all the money they had to pay out in bribes and or transportation trying to get into India without documentation and then to move to the U.S. Enjeela seems to be doing quite well here, hopefully the rest of her family is also.

  30. 4 out of 5

    George

    A wonderful story This is a remarkable story of a family and of a young girl being uprooted from their home in Kabul and ending up in America. Throughout the story Enjeela appears to be an extraordinary person - her bio confirms that - full of empathy and wisdom beyond her years. The story also provides insights to an Afghanistan that is far removed from the country we know now. The journey to safety is perilous and at times bordering on suicidal. This is highly recommended - a sea of emotions a A wonderful story This is a remarkable story of a family and of a young girl being uprooted from their home in Kabul and ending up in America. Throughout the story Enjeela appears to be an extraordinary person - her bio confirms that - full of empathy and wisdom beyond her years. The story also provides insights to an Afghanistan that is far removed from the country we know now. The journey to safety is perilous and at times bordering on suicidal. This is highly recommended - a sea of emotions at every step.

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