This novel's plot is set in Kabul the capital of Afghanistan during a time when Taliban have seized the country. The book begins by introducing Parvana's family, who is living together in a tiny room because their luxurious home got destroyed by a bomb. Some laws were unjust for the women. The law forbid women from going to school, having jobs or leaving their homes to unless a male companion accompanied them. Parvana's mother, her sister and two younger siblings would therefore not leave the house. Parvana's father had to go the market and fend for his family. Her father was a letter reader and writer for he was literate and the money he got bought their family food and water. Parvana, however, had to help him walk to the market since he had lost one of his legs in a bomb.
Parvana's family met a rude shock when the Taliban raided their home and kidnapped their father. Their food supply dwindled with their father being away and no one available to fend for them. Parvana looked like a boy, and her mother cut her hair and dressed her in her deceased brother's clothes, who had been killed by a landmine when Parvana was only a small baby. Dressed as a boy, Parvana went to the market to continue with her father's job of reading and writing letters. With the money she got, she was able to buy them food and water. Parvana met with her schoolmate Shauzia while working at the market. Shauzia, a girl, also dressed as a boy to fend for her family. Both girls, later on, discovered a way to make more money by digging up bones from the graveyards and selling them. With the money the girls made they bought trays which they used to move with the crowds and make more sales quickly.
While at her work, Parvana saw a lot of suffering and destruction that had disrupted people's lives. During that same time, she and her friend Shauzia decided to go to a football match to sell gum and cigarettes. However, to their disbelief, it was not a football game but a show of the Taliban chopping thieves hands. This experience was very scary for Parvana, and she decided to stay away from the streets for a while. On her return to the market, she noticed a lady who always looked at her from the window and who always left some gifts for her under her rug. The gifts she received gave her hope that the street was not all a bad place.
Nooria, Parvana's sister, then got a marriage proposal from Pakistan. She had the desire to be free, go to school to become a teacher and do away with the burqa and this marriage gave her an opportunity to get out of Kabul. Taliban had not seized Pakistan and so Parvanas mother, her sister and her younger siblings left for Pakistan for the wedding arrangements leaving Parvana behind to wait for her father. On one occasion during Parvana street sales she came across a woman who was weeping she said she was from Pakistan where the Taliban had killed her family. Her father then came back home during that same period, and the novel ends with father and daughter leaving Kabul for Pakistan to look for their family.
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