Sunday, June 21, 2020

Review: IraqiGirl: Diary of a Teenage Girl in Iraq

IraqiGirl: Diary of a Teenage Girl in Iraq IraqiGirl: Diary of a Teenage Girl in Iraq by IraqiGirl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"My mother told me not to write about politics. She said write about normal life. But I don't have a normal life so how can I follow her advice?" 3 August 2005

Hadiya wrote a blog about her life from 2004-2018. This book covers 2004-2007 (what we would call high school) with a brief note about 2008-09 but I went to her blog to see what happened later. It ends up being about life under military occupation by the United States. She lives in Mosul, with family in Lebanon, Syria, Baghdad, and Kurdistan. She also provides a glimpse into the Syria of fifteen years ago, one that was a refuge for so many people, a city that epitomizes peace and "real life" to Hadiya during this time period, since her family retreats to Aleppo on multiple occasions when their home is damaged by bombs, gunfire, or someone they know is killed. All along Hadiya is trying to be a good student so she can go to pharmacy school.

The way the book is presented I believe it is targeted at middle to high schoolers as a way to develop empathy for Hadiya and others like her, similar to how The Diary of Anne Frank is used in classrooms. There is an extra Q&A from students her age at the end.

I bought this from Haymarket books as part of my reading goals for the year. It doesn't escape me that the two books I've read from Iraq so far have been from the voices of children who have had to leave the country. I was brought to tears more than one time, so had to take a bit longer to read this one.

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