Written By: Enjeela Ahmadi-Miller
Published By: Little A
Reviewed By: Melissa Minners
I love when I get offered the opportunity to check out a new author and a subject matter that I really haven’t delved into. I recently found that opportunity with a bundle of books offered up for perusal at Amazon.com. Most of these were fiction or historical fiction with one exception, The Broken Circle: A Memoir of Escaping Afghanistan by Enjeela Ahmadi-Miller.
In the early 1980s, Enjeela was a young tomboy-ish girl who loved nothing more than climbing trees and rough-housing with her older brother. Her family was well off, living on a large parcel of land in Kabul, Afghanistan. Her father was a landlord who worked as an interpreter for the local embassy. Her mother was a spirited woman with artistic skills. At the time, her family’s biggest worry was finding an appropriate husband for her oldest sister.
And then it happened, civil war and the Soviet invasion. Gone was the new democracy the country was experiencing. Women were no longer allowed to be at the forefront of society. Their opinions were no longer cherished and they were forced once again to remain at home, silenced. Suddenly her family members started disappearing – moving away, being taken away by the new government leaders or taking their own lives. Enjeela’s mother, suffering from a heart issue, leaves for medical treatment in India with some of the children. One of Enjeela’s older brothers, soon to be forced to fight for the Soviets, follows her, leaving Enjeela alone with two sisters, a brother and a disillusioned father, steadily watching his country fall apart.
Soon, Enjeela’s father realizes it is no longer safe for his children to stay in Kabul. He enlists the aid of a guide with a rough exterior but a kind heart to take the rest of his family out of Afghanistan. The journey is long and filled with dangers, not only from the military, but from the landscape itself. Once a whining, spoiled child, Enjeela begins a journey toward strength and fortitude as she travels toward a freedom and an uncertain future.
As I began reading The Broken Circle, I realized that I didn’t know nearly enough about Afghanistan and its troubled history. I was getting my education from a woman who had gone through one of the toughest times in its history and somehow made it out stronger than when she began. Enjeela Ahmadi-Miller writes such a descriptive and somewhat harrowing tale of survival, you find yourself picturing every scene in your mind’s eye and wondering just how you would fare if you had to endure the same journey.
I was not only captivated by the description of life in Afghanistan before and during the invasion, I was amazed by the fortitude of this family whose love kept them going despite every obstacle they encountered. The Broken Circle: A Memoir of Escaping Afghanistan is a poignant read, made even more so by current events. A book definitely worth checking out!