Book Review: Half the Sky

Reviewed by Tracy Dunham


When the book you’re reading was co-authored by the first married couple to win a Pulitzer Prize, you know you’re probably in for a good read.  

Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn is equal parts heartbreak, information and inspiration. That’s what you get from a couple who has been all through Asia and Africa dedicating themselves to learning about the lives of real women in devastating, unthinkable, extremely complicated, unforgettable and often surprisingly hopeful circumstances.

This book uses the simple power of telling the stories of women and girls to explore the complex cultures that they live in and how so much of their lives have been about surviving. Those same stories are used to teach us about difficult socio-economic realities and the sheer fortitude of those who have found a way to thrive in spite of the hand they were dealt.

And while they’re at it, the authors teach us about what the world is like outside of our North American norms and how we can use our privilege to affect real change in the lives of others. It’s fascinating how these chapters should be difficult to read but ended up keeping me up late at night invested in the lives of these ladies and how their stories would turn out.

Be warned, not every story has a happy ending, but every one tells the truth regardless of the triumphs or tragedies. There was a lot of respect shown in the way that Nicholas and Sheryl let each woman’s life speak for itself and also speak to the imperfect ways that governments, communities and families treat half the sky… women, who make up half of the people who live under our sky.

In the end the reader can’t help but feel empowered with all of the information that is shared and the unshakable knowledge that we’re not too far away to make a difference. It’s researched, moving, accessible and practical. I’d recommend that you put it on the top of your reading list.

Find it at:

  • Your Local Library

  • Amazon – Softcover, Audio and Ebook

  • Indigo - Hardcover, Softcover 

Also check out the Half the Sky Documentary on DVD. I borrowed it from my local library. You can also find it on Amazon.