I feel that I have been sleeping all my life and I have woken up and opened my eyes to the world. A beautiful world! But impossible to live in.
These are the words of fifteen-year-old Hadiya, blogging from the city of Mosul, Iraq, to let the world know what life is really like as the military occupation of her country unfolds. In many ways, her life is familiar. She worries about exams and enjoys watching Friends during the rare hours that the electricity in her neighborhood is running.
But the horrors of war surround her everywhere—weeklong curfews, relatives killed, and friends whose families are forced to flee their homes. With black humor and unflinching honesty, Hadiya shares the painful stories of lives changed forever. “Let’s go back,” she writes, “to my un-normal life.”
With her intimate reflections on family, friendship, and community, IraqiGirl also allows us to witness the determination of one girl not only to survive, but to create, amidst the devastation of war, a future worth living for.
"Hadiya's authentically teenage voice, emotional struggles and concerns make her story all the more resonant." —Publishers Weekly
“Despite all the news coverage about the war in Iraq, very little is reported about how it affects the daily lives of ordinary citizens. A highschooler in the city of Mosul fills in the gap with this compilation of her blog posts about living under U.S. occupation. She writes in English because she wants to reach Americans, and in stark specifics, she records the terrifying dangers of car bombs on her street and American warplanes overhead, as well as her everyday struggles to concentrate on homework when there is no water and electricity at home. Her tone is balanced: she does not hate Americans, and although she never supported Saddam Hussein, she wonders why he was executed... Readers will appreciate the details about family, friends, school, and reading Harry Potter, as well as the ever-present big issues for which there are no simple answers." —Hazel Rochman, Booklist
“IraqiGirl has poured reflections of her daily life into her blog, reaching all over the cyber-world from her home in northern Iraq. She writes about the universals of teen life—school, family, TV, food, Harry Potter—but always against the background of sudden explosions, outbursts of gunfire, carbombs, death.… [A]n important addition to multicultural literature.” —Elsa Marston, author of Santa Claus in Baghdad and Other Stories About Teens in the Arab World
“A book as relevant to adults as teenagers and children. Hadiya’s clear, simple language conveys the feelings of a teenager, offering a glimpse into the daily life of a professional middle-class Iraqi family in an ancient-modern city subjected to a brutal occupation.”
—Haifa Zangana, author of City of Widows: An Iraqi Woman's Account of War and Resistance
About the Author
IraqiGirl was fifteen years old in 2004-2005 and living in Mosul, Iraq, when she began blogging the story of her life under American occupation.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
IraqiGirl: Diary of a Teenage Girl in Iraq is a collection of blog posts published by a girl who wrote under the pseudonym "Hadiya" from 2004 to 2007. Reading these entries, it quickly becomes clear to me that, by blogging, Hadiya is risking much more than offending a few of her readers. I realized how very much I take for granted on a daily (if not hourly basis). The ability to write about my thoughts, to count on electricity, to know that I will return home from school, that people around me will not simply disappear, never to be seen or heard from again. This writing is not grandiose, but it is so very eye-opening.It was clear in reading this that Hadiya is not living a better life since the US entered her country and toppled Saddam Hussein's regime. She may have been poor under Saddam, but she is absolutely stifled under American occupation. I don't know if I'm alone in this ignorance, but I feel like this voice is one that I have not yet heard since we entered Iraq in 2003. I know that it was dangerous for her to write on her blog (a freedom that I take for granted every day), but I am so thankful that she has put her voice into the international arena. I feel much more enlightened as to what it would be like to live in a war zone after reading this collection of blog entries.In addition to the journal-style narratives, Hadiya also writes poetry. She is rather talented in this area. I can see myself using several of these poems in my classroom. But, her writing is not perfect and she admits that she struggles with language. Rather than see this as a put-off, I felt as though her sometimes awkward phrasing felt more authentic than if she had been a polished writer. Without the gleam of figurative language and fancy prose, Hadiya comes across as a real teen. A frustrated, scared teen who is forever changed by a war that is taking place in her front yard. It could not get more real than this.I am definitely going to put this book on my classroom shelf. Though my students, especially my young freshmen and sophmores, have not grown up with this war on their doorstep, it has been the background noise on their televisions and the stuff of their local news for the majority of their lives. Many of these young teens do not remember a time when they did not hear the word "Iraq" without the word "war." And, some have lost loved ones and will continue to know and love American soldiers who are headed to the Middle East.Anyone who is even remotely interested in learning more about the Iraq War from an actual Iraqi should read this book. And, it is a must-have for high school (and possibly middle school) libraries and classrooms. I hope to read more nonfiction written by real teens in the future.
With so many books on the Iraq War talking about the strategy of the military, or biographies of the soldiers or generals, or even Al-Queda, very little thought is given to Iraqi citizens and their everyday life. Which is why IraqiGirl is so important. Written as a blog by Hadiya, it covers her life from 2004 when she was 15 until 2007. The book puts a human face on the Iraq War that is missing in newspapers and T.V. Hadiya tells about the frustrations she faces in going to school or even visiting friends. She also points out that soldiers are not welcome in Iraq. Despite the war, life does indeed go on and despite many dark days, I found a lot of inspiration in this teenage girl as she made it through her teenage years determined to go onto college, which she is presently doing. The most important thing about books like IraqiGirl is that they show us the myths of people in the Middle East are wrong. I've watched many films and read books on the Middle East the past 6 years and the families are just the same as they are here. The children love their parents, and the mothers tease their husbands just as they would anywhere else. Family is very important and we see that here. If more people read about the lives of brave individuals such as Hadiya, they would think more about this sad occupation that has lasted over six years and realize that the voiceless are suffering, yet remain strong. This book, edited by Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, is listed as Young Adult, but I would recommend it to anyone of any age.