I waited six months on the library's hold list for this book, and having finally read it, I can understand now why it is so popular. Many of the stories about women facing violence, mutilation, discrimination in other parts of the globe are horrifying and haunting, and it almost numbs the mind to realize that these stories are not unique but are being repeated again and again villages and cities and farmlands all over the world.
It could have been tempting to set the book aside as too hard, too graphic, too disturbing to read in the comfort of my rocking chair, and if the point of the book had been the horror of it all, I would have done just that. But the suffering is only one aspect of the stories. The real point of this book is that we can make a difference in the lives of individual women and in the unfolding of the world story. I was inspired by the stories of women (and men) in every chapter who are changing the world by relentless efforts to right one wrong, acting on visions of a world where women are truly valued as fully human beings. The final chapter is "What You Can Do", perhaps most inspiring of all, as we each are challenged to take steps to make a difference.