What would it really be like to live through the bombing of Baghdad? This poignant diary is a first-hand account of a family in a city living under attack. Written by 19-year-old Thura al-Windawi, it describes the chaos and destruction around her. Her younger sister Sama, who is seven, "keeps drawing guns...before she drew ladies in dresses". She describes a handsome American soldier: "he's got beautiful sunglasses...but I think he's probably a monster". Thura must also face the death of her childhood friend, Freday, killed during the bombing: "I feel shocked, like part of me is dying, too".
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Grade 8 Up–The strength of this diary is in its matter-of-fact delivery. The author, now a scholarship student at an American university, writes of her daily life in war-besieged Baghdad. She describes the events just prior to the U.S. and Britain's "shock & awe" attack on Iraq. Her family braces for the imminent onslaught, the tension growing. From worrying about who will take care of the dogs when the family evacuates to finding enough insulin for her diabetic sister, she shows what it's like to live with war. Al-Windawi describes wearing a mask to filter air tainted by the noxious fumes from oil fires around the city and from the dust that the bombs and sandstorms stir up. She writes about the rumbling approach of B52's and the barrage of bombs that makes her house shudder. Interspersed are the refreshing dreams and goals of a bright and self-motivated young woman. Perhaps some of the emotion has been distilled through translation, as Thura seems removed from the action, panning through the terror to present the facts. Perhaps it's self-preservation. Politicalsentiments occasionally poke through, but the focus is on explicitly and calmly exposing the ravages of war on the vulnerable members of society. A postscript describes the author's reaction to the capture of Saddam Hussein.–Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY
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Gr. 6-12. Nineteen-year-old al-Windawi began recording this diary a week before the first American bombs landed on Baghdad. The entries take her through the terror of the bombings to the difficult first days of postwar reconstruction. Much here will surprise American readers: though they understand Saddam was responsible for incredible evil, al-Windawi and her family feel a complicated mix of emotions when his statue is torn down in Baghdad. And though she expresses anger at the religious zealots who threaten women who don't wear headscarves, al-Windawi also asserts her belief that men should make decisions in a family. Readers will wish for more detailed descriptions of al-Windawi's world and the people inhabiting it, but one can feel their house shake as the bombs rain down and sense her frustration as she struggles to return to school after the war. Although it discusses events already several months old, this will remain relevant for a long time, both because it illuminates the complex relationship between the U.S and the average young Iraqi and because it lays bare the brutal nature of war. John Green
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Book Description Puffin Books, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110141317698
Book Description Puffin Books, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 141317698