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Book Review: Daughters of Iraq by Revital Shiri-Horowitz

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Daughters of Iraq by Revital Shiri-Horowitz is a fictional story of three women from the same family. It is a story of emigration seen through the eyes of two of the women and one who is first generation Israeli.

Sisters Farida and Violet’s family were being forced to move from Iraq due to their religion. This event, which occurred in the 1950s, shaped their lives and changed them forever. Noa, Violet’s daughter, also feels the effects of this event and the stories of her mother and aunt shape the way she makes decisions in modern day Israel.

Daughters of Iraq is a well written account of Jewish Iraqi family who is forced to emigrate to Israel from Iraq in the 1950s. The book was a bit difficult to start, but once I got the rhythm, pacing, and jumps in time I started to truly enjoy the story.

The story is presented in several formats. One of the two sisters, Violet, who has passed away after being sick, is being remembered through her journal entries. We get to know Violet’s sister, Farida, through her own words and her surroundings. Violet’s daughter, Noa, a university student, goes through a spiritual journey throughout the book dealing with love, loss, and looking for some sort of meaning in life.

I found it very interesting to read about the extreme change of going from a life of luxury in an upscale neighborhood in Baghdad to a tent in Israel. While the option of living in an Israeli tent is much better than a Baghdadi grave it is still a culture shock, especially for your teenage girls.

The book’s theme is love in various ways. Love between parents, siblings, couples, aunts, daughters, sons and even ex-lovers.

While I found the sections which tell the immigration story fascinating, I found the sections about Noa, the Israeli born daughter of the immigrants, interesting and unique. I don’t think sons and daughters of immigrants realize how much their parents have sacrificed in giving up everything just to give their children a chance at a better life, leaving everything familiar and going to a foreign place knowing full well you’ll never belong.

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