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A Different Kind of Daughter: The Girl Who Hid From the Taliban in Plain Sight

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  857 ratings  ·  163 reviews
'Armed with a squash racket and enormous will, Maria Toorpakai has risen from the turmoil of tribal life in Pakistan to become not only a world-class athlete, but a true inspiration, a pioneer for millions of other women struggling to pave their own paths to autonomy, fulfilment and genuine personhood' Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner Maria Toorpakai Wazir has li ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 25th 2016 by Bluebird (first published February 23rd 2016)
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Renee Galligher I just started listening so I'm not sure, but that could be part of the reference made in the title, but again it may not be.
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4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  857 ratings  ·  163 reviews

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Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.

Every time there is a terrorist attack committed by someone who claims to be follower of Islam someone who claims to be a follower of Christianity wonders why all Muslims do not condemn the terrorist.

Toorpaki’s book (written with the help of Katherine Holstein) should be required reading for such idiots.

Toorpaki is a squash player from Pakistan, from the area of Pakistan where the Taliban has a presence, so needless to say her abilities draw death threats from t
Susan Johnson
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A compelling story of a girl raised in Pakistan who rebelled against everything. At 4 or 5 she gathers her clothes and burns them in a kerosene fire. From then on she goes about life as a boy. She cuts her hair short and wears her brother's hand me down clothes. The women's clothes make her literally break out in a rash. Her father renames her Genghis Khan and she rarely uses her given name of Maria and never dresses as a woman.

Her parents are remarkedly progressive as members of a tribal cultu
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maria is Pashtun from the Wazir tribe (Waziristan is a district). This is her story, she is the narrator. It's a memoir until her mid-twenties. It's about her homeland in one sense (Pakistan), the Taliban in another. Several smaller towns and also Peshawar feature as places of locale as her family moves for safety or educational purpose. The rules for girls she rejects with a match and kerosene when she is less than 7. So she lives as a boy named Genghis Khan. She cuts her own hair razor short, ...more
Very interesting reveal of life in Pakistan when you're a girl in a boy's body but happy to be a girl. What I didn't appreciate about this was that Maria didn't share how she felt -- the story dwelled around the expectations of the country, people and her family; where are the insights into who she is and why she is. Maybe I just missed this?

The writing reminded me a lot of the Mahlala book, where it seemed that there was more than one 'voice' in the book. This is most distracting and makes the
Laura Lacey
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This is the amazing story of an amazing woman.

Maria grew up in Pakistan in Taliban controlled areas; her incredibly brave parents allowed her to live the first part of her life as a boy. This meant she could enjoy freedoms and a way of life she would have been denied by society were her true gender known.

Her parents are devout Muslims and we see the differences in their interpretation of their religion and the radicals around them. Her mother in particular is an inspiring figure: travelling aro
Rachel Stansel
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was an incredibly moving memoir of a girl from Pakistan who grows up to challenge the norm in startling ways. I can't imagine growing up the way Maria did. I alternated between awe at her parent's bravery and anger that people are forced to live this way due to hate. I strongly recommend this book to anyone looking for an insight into the lives of everyday people in Pakistan doing extraordinary things for what they believe in. I truly felt changed by reading this. For anyone who would like ...more
Penny Schmuecker
I first learned of Maria Toorpakai's story from an evening news segment. Because I have recently been reading books about life in the Middle East and Islamic lives, I was extremely eager to read A Different Kind of Daughter. I was not disappointed as this book delivered in every way I was hoping it would.

Maria Toorpakai was born in northern Pakistan in the Waziristan region, bordering Afghanistan. Waziristan is an extremely conservative region where women are closely guarded and often practice
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars! Beautifully written, must read tale of determination.

This is story introduces you to Maria and her incredible family; who loved and supported their non-conventional daughter just as she was - encouraging her dreams and aspirations.

Within her family Maria had the space to grow and become the champion we see but not within the Taliban regime where the belief is that women belong in purdah or within four walls; to defy this system is to live in daily fear. The things Maria saw as a child
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolute treasure of a book! The account of a woman whose family believed in equality and education and pursuing a dream even while living in communities in Pakistan that severely restrict girls and women. Her father encouraged her spirit no matter the risk. I could not put this book down until I finished it, reading til 4 in the morning. The book describes her challenges as she adapted to each environment she moved to and eventually found her calling as a squash champion. Not only the danger ...more
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great story. I was so involved in Maria's life that I couldn't put the book down.
She's a very interesting, brave girl. Her determination to excel in her sport (sports) is truly admirable and inspirational. I found it amazing though, that her educated parents thought it was just fine that she didn't go to school because 'she didn't like it', while her siblings all did attend formal education. I sure would have balked at that if I was her sibling, but that wasn't the case in her family.
Noella Allisen
Jul 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An incredible story. Well written and worth reading. My hat is off, not just to Maria for what she has accomplished, but to her parents. Read it and you'll understand why I say this. Amazing!!
Jane De vries
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very unusual book about a very unusual girl. Add to the mix exceptional parents living in the shadow of the Taliban. Then blend together being bullied and a fierce determination to win at all costs. This will bring you to Maria Toorpakai.

Her extraordinary physical skill and courage make her larger than life. So many people brought up in the USA are the first in line to denigrate this country. Go over to Maria's part of the world and you'll see what real hardship is.

This was hardly a "fun" book b
Olga Kowalska (WielkiBuk)
Inspiring, unbelievable, full of woman power - Maria Toorpakai is a hero and a role model for all girls around the world.
„Pakistańska córka” to opowieść o brawurowej odwadze, która przypomina nam, że istnieją na świecie jeszcze miejsca, w których jakiekolwiek równouprawnienie płci to tylko odległy, nierealny sen. To historia dziewczyny, która nie bała się, by taki sen śnić.
May 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a bookclub book. I actually enjoyed this book very much.
Torn between 4 and 5 stars on this one so I'll give it a 4.5. What a story... actually, what a family! Amazing people...
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Carolyn Newcott
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was interesting and inspiring. I loved the family dynamic and how each family member was so supportive of Maria.
Carol Cowan
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Presented this book to my book club
These are the ideas and questions that I used:
1. Did the book remind you of any other memoirs or biographies you've read?

2. Does anyone know when the story took place? How old is Maria today?
She was born Nov 22, 1990 in South Waziristan, a tribal region in NW Pakistan bordering Afghanistan- She is 27 years old.

3. Memoirs can be written for a variety of different purposes, such as clearing up a misconceived notion, gaining fame and notoriety or promoting somethi
Janis Stonehocker
Excellent excellent book!! Such an amazing story it's hard to believe it's actually nonfiction. Maria has the most amazing parents that allowed her to become her true self all under the nose of the Taliban. I am so glad to read about wonderful Muslims, their hard work for the unprivileged girls and women in their country and their devotion to their faith. This is such an incredible story and I am so glad I read this book.
Amie Heller
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is a rare insight. An amazing story of survival and freedom. In reading Maria Toorpakai's tale, I have a renewed sense of gratefulness for a way of life I had come to take for granted.
May 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wendy by: Goodreads Giveaways
One of the most powerful, haunting and inspirational memoirs I've read this year is " A Different Kind of Daughter: The Girl Who Hid from the Taliban in Plan Sight " which I won through Goodreads Giveaways and follows the courageous and touching struggle of Maria Toorpaki a tomboy born into the oppressive atmosphere of the tribal region of northwestern Pakistan. Wanting the freedom to spread her wings and to have the unconstrained freedom of a boy, Maria becomes "Genghis Khan" in her childhood p ...more
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
You will find her story amazing and compelling. She faces challenges most of us will never begin to know about or understand. She is relentless in her drive and great desire to be exactly who she is. Understanding what she lived through and how she is making a difference in our world is worth reading.
I had always believed that the Pashtun people were a tall and noble people, but I had no idea that their females were as nothing and forced into seclusion, deliver their baby without trained assistance, or that the Pakistani version of a Taliban found all Pashtun disgusting and open targets for murder. But then, I also did not know that Pakistani sports teams were run by branches of the military, that Squash is the second most popular sport in Pakistan, which is also the most heroin addicted cou ...more
Feb 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book for anyone who wants a first hand account of life with the Taliban.
Monique Snyman
Jun 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A Different Kind of Daughter by Maria Toorpakai shows the terrors in the Middle East through the eyes of one brave woman and her courageous family. I started reading this a while back, but I often had to pull myself away to let everything sink in. Memoirs are difficult to review and rate, because these are real stories by real people, and it feels somewhat wrong to rate a person's life. Nevertheless, memoirs are also important to show the world as it really is, and Maria Toorpakai showed the thi ...more
T.L. Cooper
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never expected A Different Kind of Daughter: The Girl Who Hid from the Taliban in Plain Sight by Maria Toorpakai with Katharine Holstein to give me a greater insight into who I am at my core, but it did. I expected it to shine light on a culture I've never experienced instead it reminded me just how alike human beings are no matter where they live. Toorpakai doesn't shy away from the uncomfortable parts of her story. She goes into vivid detail about her journey to become her best self. She tal ...more
Dina Tanners
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing book and I found it very difficult to put town.

Maria Toorpakai was the middle child of a Pakistani tribal family. Her parents were both "misfits" within their families so their were paired together to marry. Her mother wanted to have a college education, something very rare for women, and her father felt that his sons and daughters should be treated equally. At age 4, Maria burned her dresses and cut her hair. After that her father gave her his older son's clothes to wear and
Gurmeet Kaur
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book : *A different kind of a daughter*
Author : Maria Toorpakai (shadow author Katherine Holstein)
Review : *It was written* this quote from the book truly explains what the book was. The extraordinary story of a young rebellious girl from the Taliban belt of Pakistan growing from the shadows of present day stone age to reach for the stars without dreaming about it. With only one thought in her head "she wanted to be free and equal"
I would suggest everyone to read this book because if you haven't
Heather Jackson
Everyone should read this book. Seriously. The world would be a better place.

I'm not even sure where to start. I gave it 5 stars, so basically it's one of the best books I've ever read. Recently I read THE UNDERGROUND GIRLS OF KABUL, which is also a very good book, and I was kind of expecting this story to be a little bit like that. It wasn't. I got my ignorance slapped. Though neighbours, Pakistan is not like Afghanistan. I learned so much from this book, even though it never lectu
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