Tiny Dancer: The Incredible True Story of a Young Burn Victim's Journey from Afghanistan

Anthony Flacco, Author . St. Martin's/Dunne $24.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-312-34333-0

One fateful day in July 2001, Zubaida, a nine-year-old Afghan girl, slipped while filling a kerosene heater and set herself on fire. Her burns were so severe, no one thought she'd live. But Zubaida survived, and her father brought her all over the region, finally to the American army base in Kandahar, trying to get help. A Green Beret listened, and Zubaida was flown to a specialized burn center in America for a year of reconstructive surgeries. Flacco's depiction of Zubaida's culture shock is remarkable. The TV and film writer explains how, for the first time, Zubaida was going to school, getting to make personal choices and spending time with children who had the luxury of imagining limitless futures. The medically complex procedures were successful; the social adjustments were difficult. With improved language skills, therapy and lots of love from her host family, Zubaida began to thrive (she even appeared on Oprah ). But then it was time to return to Afghanistan, where she felt like a model ship in a bottle—perfectly formed but going nowhere. Flacco's empathy and ability to tell Zubaida's story like he's inside her head makes for an engrossing feel-good read. Photos. Agent, Martin Literary Management. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 06/20/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
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