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Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite
Inspired by Paul W. Rice’s personal experiences in Ethiopia, The Orphan: A Portrait of Courage is an inspiring historical novel about a strong woman named Yodit. Her story begins in 1983, during one of Ethiopia’s worst droughts. An orphan after her father murdered her mother, she grew up in an orphanage with her elder sister, Tutu. Even though Ethiopia was under the influence of the Soviet regime, Yodit tried not to be involved. She studied hard, and after her sister’s death, she took care of her little niece. In the meanwhile, Yodit’s efforts brought her to London, where she completed her studies brilliantly. After a marriage that lasted only one day, she realized she had been mutilated, but she found the courage to go on and became an advocate for women’s rights.
The story of The Orphan is simple and straightforward, but it has a deep, meaningful message. The narration of Yodit’s story is delicate and charming, but nonetheless, it is painful and sad. The account of the tragedies and injustices she had to suffer is vivid, but her courage stands out even better. I am fascinated by the determination of this woman. She can be a model for others, and her vicissitudes should make people reflect. The Orphan is a book that awakens public opinion about the injustices women suffer and is recommended to readers who like to reflect on what they read. I would also like to praise the beautiful images by Ann Olsen. They represent beautiful scenes or unusual objects and embellish the book with graceful taste.