Thursday, July 7, 2011

Guest Post: Aleeza Rauf on 'A Northern Light'

    You know how sometimes you read certain books which make such big impacts on you that they automatically become an incredibly important part of your life? I've read lots of books like that--The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini...the list is endless, really. All of these books represent a specific time of my life when I drank in their awesomeness and was left stunned. But the book that made the biggest impact of all? A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly.  
I read it a year or so back for the first time, when I was straddled with the decision about what I wanted to go on and do in my life. Since I'm a Pakistani-American girl who belongs to a conservative Pakistani family, I wasn't able to do what I really wanted, which was to go alone to USA and get my Bachelors there. And I couldn't help but be heartbroken about the fact that the only reason I couldn't was because I was a girl.
Then I stumbled upon A Northern Light. In the book, the main character Mattie is facing a similar decision. She belongs to a poor farming family, and her mother recently died and made her promise she'd take care of her three younger sisters. But what Mattie really wants is to go to Bernard College to pursue her love of words, to take in all the amazing literature out there and produce some of her own. So naturally, she has to make some very hard decisions, and as I followed her journey, my heart both soared and swooped and ultimately, Mattie proves that she is an independent, wise woman. And since she lives in the early 1900s, that is a pretty big deal.
I live in the 21st century, and I often face the same dilemma as Mattie: Do I think my freedom is worth disappointing/antagonizing my family? What I think it comes down to, at the end of the day, is how much you value your freedom. Whether you think it's worth the necessary sacrifice, whether you are that brave. And really, isn't that what girl power is all about?   
Aleeza Rauf is a 17 year old blogger from Karachi, Pakistan. When she's not blogging at Aleeza Reads and Writes, she enjoys writing, cricket and photography. You can find her on Twitter and Goodreads.      

1 comment:

  1. A Northern Light is one of my all-time favorites. It's great to hear how you connected with the story. It's also a great book to re-read for writers, to understand how she pulls off the alternating past/present narration. I still need to read her adult books.


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