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Book Review: IraqiGirl (Diary of a Teenage Girl in Iraq) by IraqiGirl and John Ross

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IraqiGirl (Diary of a Teenage Girl in Iraq) is the story of a teenager with a blog in Mosul, Iraq. The blog was turned into a book by John Ross, a member of Human Shield who spent time in Mosul, and Hadiya, the blog writer. It reads as if it were the diary of any teenage girl in the world. The world is closer than it seems in the book, as many American teenagers have the same experiences as Hadiya and so far away as Hadia has experienced things in her life that some will never know of.

The book reads just like the blog Hadiya started in July 2004 with dated entries. The beginning of the book shows Hadiya as, what I can only imagine, a "happy-go-lucky" Iraqi teenager: talking about her friends, family, school, and her life. Hadiya spends a good amount of time taking about what life was like when Saddam Hussein was the President of Iraq. "I didn't love Saddam ever. Now I do. They made me love him … When we were in Saddam's time, we hardly any money to eat, but we were safe … Now we live in hell." Hadiya also talks about how they still couldn't count on electricity twenty-four hours a day, but that it was at least more reliable than what is being experienced when she was writing her blog.

In a world of car bombs that explode outside her front door, Hadiya and classmates find it hard to live a normal life. "When I say today was a normal day, that doesn't mean there were no explosions — because if there were no explosions, then it would not be a normal day."

Through the pages of IraqiGirl, Hadiya grows up. An innocent teenager at the start of the book becomes a jaded young woman at the end of the book. The book ends fairly abruptly with a blog entry on December 1, 2007. Hadiya made it into the program in Pharmacy College, and the book ended. Hadiya is interviewed about her life between 2008 and 2009 by Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, and it opens up a little more of what has been going on in her life in the past few years.

IraqiGirl (Diary of a Teenager in Iraq) is very much a book written for high school, or middle school students. The age group can relate to Hadiya more than any other age group. The book features discussion questions, a time-line of events in Iraq and questions asked by students from around the world which Hadiya answers.

Overall, I believe the book is a treasure. With the Internet the possibilities are endless. It's amazing that the struggles of a teenager in Iraq can be seen by anyone in the world and that a blog that was innocently started could become a book in which the world is brought closer together.

Hadiya's blog can still be read, and is updated frequently at IraqiGirl.blogspot.com

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About Brit Linstrom

  • Aissata

    This Book Is Really Interesting