by Barbara Cohen & Bajia Lovejoy
1994 Harper Teen
Ages 13 & up
In an ancient Arab nation, one woman dares to be different.Buran cannot -- Buran will not-sit quietly at home and wait to be married to the man her father chooses. Determined to use her skills and earn a fortune, she instead disguises herself as a boy and travels by camel caravan to a distant city. There, she maintains her masculine disguise and establishes a successful business. The city's crown prince comes often to her shop, and soon Buran finds herself falling in love. But if she reveals to Mahmud that she is a woman, she will lose everything she has worked for.
My Rating: Love It!
“This novel is based on a folktale that has been part of the oral tradition of Iraq since the eleventh century of the common era.”
The quote at the back of the book is just as quiet and unassuming as this little gem.
The entire story is written as a folk tale. The customs described obviously mark a period in history when camels were the only passage through the desert and women had a limited place in society. There are enough politically incorrect ideas represented in this book that I am not surprised I was not able to check it out in the library system. It’s just not available.
This book haunted my memory until I found & reread it. Buran is such a great character. She doesn't accept anyone's answer for her life and opposes a variety of "you can't do it"'s. As for dressing as a man, I think this book is a great example of why the idea is fun, for me, at least. Buran had no intention or interest in becoming a man, she dressed as a man to be able to do the things she wanted to do. I loved the beauty of the culture in the time period, the flowing clothes, the (sometimes) overbearing customs. I loved Buran's family, especially her father. But most of all, I love the theme of overcoming monumental challenges to try to realize a dream.
Oh... and the love story is believable (refreshing!!). There is friendship and attraction, hidden in the stylized retelling of Buran's point of view.
I think the cover dates the book, somewhat. I would love to see a new cover for it and a new printing!