“A stunning portrait of a totally devastated world where children are forced to fend for themselves.”



This book stands as the third entry of the Breadwinner series. (To date, there exists four titles centered on this nucleus of characters.) Mud City focuses on Shauzia, a tenacious girl whose relentless energy drives her to escape desperate circumstances. Is Shauzia’s determination a result of selfishness or self-interest? Ellis’ rendering of Shauzia evokes empathy along with the desire to see Shauzia reach full maturity.

Shauzia disguises herself as Shafiq, a male. Shauzia desires warmth, cleanliness, and affection, qualities that the refugee camp alienates. These emotional needs become deeper with the coupling of concern over Shauzia’s physical development. Shauzia doesn’t yearn to be a boy yet she envies masculine liberties.

A memento from Kabul, a charming photograph of lavender fields inspires her to seek asylum in France. ( The word asylum is not used specifically in the story yet worldwise individuals will recognize the concept behind Shauzia’s goals.) During her first parting from Mrs.Weera, she gets fostered by a well-meaning American family for less than a week. (Since leaving Kabul, Mrs.Weera has been her authority figure. The American family casts out Shauzia after a clash of cultures.)

Shauzia continues to dream of reuniting with her friend Parvana at the Eiffel Tower. Nonetheless, Mrs.Weera frustrates her plans. A modern Amazon, Mrs. Weera manifests her energy to saving Afghani women.

Mrs. Weera has no illusions about Shauzia’s urge to flee the refugee camp yet inadvertently persuades Shauzia to champion for the women of her country.


Reviewed by:

Karah Khalia

Added 22nd September 2018

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Karah Khalia