Compare and Contrast: The Breadwinner and Parvana’s Journey

breadparvanas_journey_0Titles:  The Breadwinner and Parvana’s Journey

Author:  Deborah Ellis

Publisher:  Groundwood Books

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Yes, I know that I wrote a review on The Breadwinner just a week ago. But I’m not going to focus on that. The Breadwinner is the most important part of Parvana’s Journey. Parvana’s Journey is, after all, a sequel to The Breadwinner. Remember when I said in my review that The Breadwinner has a confusing ending? Well, Parvana’s Journey to the rescue! It starts off a little after the previous ending, so they go together well. These two books are basically the same story, if that makes any sense. It’s like a really, really short series.

Just to refresh the memory of The Breadwinner, it’s about an Afghan family that lives in the time of Taliban rule (which wasn’t too long ago). It’s a substantial family, with a father, a mother, and four kids, Nooria, Parvana, Maryam, and Ali. The Taliban have enforced extreme laws considering women, girls, books, television, and books. Needless to say, it’s a harsh life surrounded by war, despair, and poverty. Soon, their father gets arrested for being educated in England and the family is in ruins, and is soon forced to disguise Parvana as a boy, so she can work to raise money and support her family. After a few days of work, she meets Shauzia, an old classmate from her former school, they become best friends, and their friendship is one of the few things that keeps them sane. After getting into trouble for a couple of weeks, Parvana learns that her older sister, Nooria, is getting married (don’t worry, it’s not mushy) and Parvana gets to stay behind. Soon after her family leaves she figures out that the Taliban are moving into the city her sister is getting married in. she is panicked, but slightly relived when she finds her father on her doorstep, released from jail. They then set out on a journey to find the rest of the family.

Not a very short memory-refresher, but hey, what can you do? Anyway, Parvana’s journey starts, oh, maybe a few weeks after Parvana and her father set out to find her mother and three siblings. You immediately find out that Parvana’s father died on the way, so it’s not a spoiler. Parvana is left alone to fend for herself and has apparently no hope of finding the means to survive, much less find what’s left of her family. But miracles happen often on the way, and she finds a baby, left alone in the ruins of the city that her older sister was supposed to get married in. She names him Hassan and takes him along a soon finds another boy, about ten years of age with one leg and a rude personality. Asif, the boy who she discovered, turns out to be a big help along the way. He’s very good with babies and takes the best care of Hassan as he can. The three children find a girl, about eight years old, living with her extremely depressed grandmother. They actually make the place a nice area to live, until it’s bombed and Parvana, Asif, Hassan, and their newly found friend Leila, have to live. The book comes to an ending that is happy, yet sad, out-of-place, yet fitting. In other words, a book that made me feel very satisfied.

This book is a must-have sidekick to The Breadwinner. But here’s the catch:  I would not read Parvana’s Journey before The Breadwinner, but when you read The Breadwinner, you pretty much have to read Parvana’s Journey. Confused yet? Like The Breadwinner, I find this book’s age group hard to place, but again I would recommend it to kids ages 11-14.

Posted By: Fred Reads

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Compare and Contrast: The Breadwinner and Parvana’s Journey

  1. Fred,

    I like the follow up. Be careful with Compare and Contrast reviews. This one was more of a summary of both and gave a short review / opinion and recommendation at the end. That is GREAT and I enjoyed reading your opinion of the books as companions. Remember that to compare means to tell what is the same between two things and to contrast means to tell what is different. Did these books have a similar writing style? Similar moral or message? Different reading level? Different type of ending? In a compare/contrast, try to focus on the book’s mechanics: how it is written.

    I’ll get on the library’s waiting list for Parvana’s Journey. If it is as long as The Breadwinner’s list, I’ll be waiting for a while!

    Cheers,

    Janine

  2. Fred Reads

    They are relatively the same writing style. They both talk about embargoes employed by the Taliban. I think they have similar endings and I kind of wished that there was another sequel, too!

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