The first feminist book I ever read was A Thousand Splendid Suns. I was a few years younger than Mariam and Laila when they first started their journeys the first time I read the book. The first thing I felt was that these girls seemed like women to me. Mariam and Laila seemed so much older than they were. These girls had experienced such turmoil and struggle so early in their lives. I immediately connected with Laila and Mariam. I felt I understood and had lived through every part of the girls story with them, through all the hardship and struggle. There expereinces of child marriage, family struggle, war, love and loss are not universal for every girl but the way they felt in these matters are. They maintained their independence through small acts of resistance, they survived and held onto the few good memories they had to help them get through a difficult time. Mariam and Laila were the first girls who taught me that life wasn’t always as easy for some as it was for others. They taught me that girls could be stronger than people gave them credit for. Mariam taught me that even if I was not as educated, beautiful or charming as other people or as loved by boys and men, I always had worth and I could still find strength.  Laila taught me that education for girls was a tool for good. She taught me that education could give us the words we need to express ourselves and fight for our rights. Both of these girls are my heroines because they taught me to survive and persevere. These girls taught me that no matter how others treated me I always had worth.

On the date of writing this I have now read Laila and Mariam’s story 8 times, and try to read it at least every few years.

-Megan Clout
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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