I recently listened to Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. It was tough, a very difficult book to listen to. Even though I knew I should stick with it, I almost had to stop it was so upsetting. Somehow, hearing about the dangerous, exploited lives of women around the world was harder to hear for me than if I'd read a physical copy of the book. On into the book there are some success stories that are really powerful, and that's what helped me get through it. I had reached more than my fill of frustratingly sad stories of women so limited by their circumstances and so abused and manipulated by men (both strangers and family members), stories that had no easy solutions. I even had to stop listening about one-third of the way in. I asked a friend I knew had read the book previously if she, knowing me well, thought I should continue the book. She encouraged me to, and I'm glad I finished it. It was perhaps THE most difficult book I've ever read.
I followed that up shortly thereafter with Jimmy Carter's latest book, A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power. In part, the same idea from Half the Sky is here, but with a little bit different spin. For one, Carter covers the injustices to women done both in the United States and other parts of the world, which made the book feel more personal to me. And, Carter gave more solutions and success stories, which kept me from getting that completely hopeless feeling I got from Half the Sky.
(Disclaimer: I do realize to affect change people have to be made uncomfortable.)
Have you read either of these books? What did you think?
**A few years back I traveled to Plains, Georgia, to attend Jimmy Carter's Sunday school class, a great experience.