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The Broken Circle: A Memoir of Escaping Afghanistan

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  7,406 ratings  ·  602 reviews

An emotional and sweeping memoir of love and survival—and of a committed and desperate family uprooted and divided by the violent, changing landscape of Afghanistan in the early 1980s.

Before the Soviet invasion of 1980, Enjeela Ahmadi remembers her home—Kabul, Afghanistan—as peaceful, prosperous, and filled with people from all walks of life. But after her mother, unse

Kindle Edition, 250 pages
Published March 1st 2019 by Little A
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  7,406 ratings  ·  602 reviews

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This was my February choice for the 'Amazon Prime first reads' and I chose it because I thought a first person account of escaping from Afghanistan at the time of the Russian invasion was sure to be interesting. Unfortunately I was a bit disappointed by the way in which the tale was delivered.

It's possible to write a great book about a not-so-interesting life but it's also (sadly) very easy to take a fascinating story and deliver it in such a bland way that it fails to hit the target. We learn
Debbie Stark
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written, gripping, and heart-breaking! I only wish it was longer and told more details of their travel to and life in America.
I've been an Amazon Prime member for years now. However, it was only last month that I discovered their First Reads program where members can receive one free eBook each month out of a small selection. I'm increasingly interested in nonfiction and the premise here sounded adventurous and educational, so it's my first choice.

The Broken Circle tells the heartbreaking tale of an Afghan family forced to leave their motherland due to the Soviet invasion and socialist revolution. I'd consider myself m
Feb 22, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2019, memoir
I really feel like I was duped by this book. And I think it falls more in the category of fiction than memoir. Implausible is the best description that comes to mind. The reader is not told until the end that this was not written by Enjeela Ahmadi-Miller, but instead by a ghost writer. It quickly becomes apparent when you start reading that these are not the memories of a 7-10 year old. She never mentions how old she is as she escapes Afghanistan, but she does say that she was born in 1975, and ...more
Joan Buell
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Emotional and touching memoir

This is a beautifully written account of life in Afghanistan before it became a Wharton country. Through the eyes of a five-year-old girl we see her comfortable life, in a large Muslim family in Kabul. Then democracy and peace are shattered, first with civil turmoil, and then by the invasion of the Russian army. Her security is rattled when her mother and 2 siblings leave for India. The remaining four children have to care for themselves, because their father, who wo
James Allen
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tragic true story with a happy ending. It brought tears to my eyes several times.
Feb 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
While I appreciate Ahmadi-Miller sharing her story of escape from Afghanistan in the 1980s, I had a few issues with this memoir. As a child of about 10 years old from a wealthy Afghani family, she and three of her older siblings fled Kabul on foot during the Soviet invasion, crossing into Pakistan where they were reunited with their father. From there, the family eventually made its way to India where Ahmadi-Miller's mother and other siblings lived. (Side note: It was unclear to me how old Ahmad ...more
Dawn Lawson
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, beautiful book.

This book helped me understand Islam. It helped me understand a whole lot of things.

This is a true story, of a child fleeing Afghanistan. The strength of that child is tremendous. At an extremely young age, she chooses to love and to live without compromise.

Love this passage. A young girl has been sold into slavery, (view spoiler)

I’d made a trade in that little place: my simple way of seeing the
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Engaging + Enlightening

I read this quickly and was very interested in this true story about immigration and being a political refugee. The topic is, of course, very relevant at this point in our own American history as we struggle to come to a new chapter in how the USA grapples with border security, a need for capable workers, and our history as a welcoming country for refugees.
Lesley Potts
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kaylee Hartwig
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book and didn't want to put it down. There are 2 reasons I give it 4 instead of 5 stars. The first is that if you pay attention to the dates, it seems that Enjeela would have only been around 3 years old when the story started and maybe up to 7 when it ended. While some people can have memories from as young as 3, I would truly be surprised if she could remember as many specific details as were given in the book. There were many parts where it seemed that she rationalized, ...more
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is hard to imagine what people go through to just to have a chance at happiness and a “normal life”. The strength human spirit is an amazing gift that we should all embrace.
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written memoir ! An absolutely awesome and unputdownable book, highly recommend it !! Just loved it, loved it, LOVED it !!!
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A nice story but the plain writing made it hard to be engaged with the story.
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This a trues story, the story of Enjeela Ahmadi-Miller her story was heartbreaking in so many ways, it was really raw and vivid and we could feel the angst each character was experiencing at all times.

I really didn't know much about Afghanistan before just what we usually see on the news and sometimes in a few conversations I had in the past with my father but I never knew how was like it before the war, before the Russian invasion.

The Broken Circle is the story of a family who is trying to sur
Jul 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, read-2020
From a privileged childhood in a wealthy household in Kabul the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan in late 1979 drives Enjeela Ahmadi and three of her siblings out of their country into danger and hardship on a five-year odyssey across several borders to reunite with the rest of their family. The story itself is gripping, though the writing makes it obvious that this was ghost-written as a lot of the details are simply not believable as the memories of a young child set down decades later. A lot of ...more
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great read

I really enjoyed reading this book! What amazing things to go through in life, especially as a child. Unlike other memoirs ive read this book had a nice time frame and didnt speed through or drag out anything that was unnecessary as well.
Madhumeet Kour
May 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
The book keeps visuals running through your mind of Enjeela and her family escaping Kabul and resettling. The travel takes them years and they face heart wrenching troubles each day to move out of Kabul and when they reunite with family in India and decide to move to America, it still leaves you with bittersweet memories of their traumas more than their anticipation of new life ahead. A beautiful book! 💌
Sep 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you @amazonpublishing for sending me a free copy in exchange for a review.

The Deets: Set in Kabul, Afghanistan, we follow the story of Enjeela Ahmandi’s five-year journey of escape to India to be reunited with her mother and the rest of her siblings.

A memoir telling the story about survival, self-discovery, and war.

Just my thoughts: It started out fairly well. The story was told through the eyes of five-year-old Enjeela where she had that perfect family and childhood. In came the war, and
How the 1% survive as refugees..... This is certainly a compelling narrative of hardship, perseverance, and courage. The story is well-told and gripping, painting a vivid picture of Afghanistan and nearby countries in the 1980s. What was disconcerting is the lack of the author's substantive reflection or awareness on how incredibly privileged she was as a refugee. Her father seems to have an endless supply of money for hotels, trains, planes, food, clothes, bribes, etc--even when he isn't able t ...more
Anjeela Ahmadi, is one of eight children in a wealthy family in Kabul. The author remembers her enchanted childhood before war as a time of “fun and camaraderie.” Her father, Padar, an engineer by training, worked at the American Embassy down the street from their house in a wealthy neighborhood. His elegant wife, Miriam, was “a modern woman” who sewed beautiful clothes for the children and didn't wear a burka. She had a heart problem that would eventually take her and two of her daughters to In ...more
Hannah Yoo
The writing:
- some of the sentences are similar to third grade writing whereas other sentences appear to be written by a more experienced writer.
- seems like the ghostwriter took some liberties with the details. it’s not credible that Enjeela would remember every little detail about every single aspect of her journey. even if she kept a journal as a child, that child journalist would not have documented everything.
- the writing makes for a choppy read. there’s no rhythm or flow.

The story:
- th
Anwen Hayward
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
A lot of this is pretty clearly made up - sorry, I don't buy for a second that an 8 year old girl stared down a wolf that was feeding on a deer carcass and was saved from death because she and the wolf felt that they were 'kin' - and the ghostwriter has used a weirdly flat narrative voice, but the story itself is pretty amazing. I'd give it a 3.5 if I could, but alas, I can't. ...more
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Enjeela's story is incredible and has such wonderful and bright writing, it was difficult to believe it was under 300 pages. Each sentence and paragraph kept you so engaged, what could have been a quick read was actually a practice in reflection. I will gladly recommend this book to others, it was that impactful, and has inspired me to look into more books about Afghan history. ...more
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Poetic and gripping account

I loved this tale of a little girl caught up in Afghanistan’s troubles. The voice is delightful, the descriptions evocative and the story keeps you on the edge of your seat. A wonderful testament to family love and determination in hard times.
May 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Fascinating; a window into a mysterious part of the world, and how people scramble to stay alive there. The voice in the story is young, as befits this child's story, and the fact that it is written by someone whose first language isn't English. It's a "road" story, its central feature the escape from Soviet take-over by four well-to-do children over the war-torn mountains of Afghanistan: pretty much everything that one might expect -- gunfire, scorpions, poverty, thievery, kindness, bureaucrati ...more
A slow starter, this book pulled me slowly into Enjeela's family until I cared about what happened to them, as well as those she met during her escape. Enjeela does a good job of remembering her childlike observations and perspective but filters those through an adult understanding of events, economic inequality, and political unrest. Her journey filled with danger for her and for those living in small villages in the countryside of Afghanistan as the fighting spread, and her naivete developed i ...more
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs, culture
I am delighted that fiction burnout and my quest for relevant reading led me to The Broken Circle. This is a gripping book. Children should not have to be put through travails such as this. Why must men band together and continually keep tearing down life? Yes, men. I have yet to see a group of women attempt to overthrow a government.

It is a miracle that Enjeela and her siblings lived through these ordeals and came out the other side whole. I don't want to give anything away, other than my extr
Apr 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: biographies
The story of her family’s emigration/escape out of Afghanistan, during the war (1970s), and into India via Pakistan-Bangladesh-Nepal was really interesting.

I have friends who were forced to leave Bhutan and they traveled through the exact same area of India to get to Nepal, where they then lived in refugee camps for 15-20 years, before being able to find new homes in countries around the world, including America.

The writing isn’t the best and I would have liked to read more about how her family
Feb 06, 2019 rated it liked it
The children and father certainly had a lot of resilience as they made their way from Kabul to Pakistan. The thing that strikes me the most though is how much money the family must have had in order to survive so long with neither parent working. They maintained 2 residences for several years plus the children had enough money to stay at a hotel for 6 months in Pakistan while waiting for their father to show up. Plus all the money they had to pay out in bribes and or transportation trying to get ...more
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