Review: Daughters of Iraq by Revital Shiri-Horowitz
Horowitz Publishing, ISBN 978-0615460796
Rating: 3.5 ~ It’s Just Okay, but I Like It
Daughters of Iraq is the story of three Jewish women. Violet was an Iraqi Jew migrant to Israel. Not wanting her children to be ignorant of her history, she recorded in a diary her journey to Israel and life in her new country. Farida is the younger sister of Violet. Relationships hasn’t always turned out well for her. Now alone, she tells her life stories to her niece and granddaughter. Noa is Violet’s daughter. The life stories of her mother and aunty will be the key to how she makes the decisions in her life.
The jumps in the story’s year timeline was confusing initially. Readers are brought to Violet’s childhood world, Farida and Noa’s present world, the time the family migrated to Israel, and Violet’s illness period. After the first few chapters, I got used to the jumps and reading the book became easier. Although this book is a fictional novel, the telling of the story made it sound hauntingly real. As I read, I had to remind myself that I was reading a historical novel, and not a nonfiction biography. The accentuation of the unnatural way English was spoken in certain conversations made the story all the more realistic. Readers are acquainted with the story and its characters through various ways: family conversations, Violet’s diary, phone conversations, and letters. While I got to know quite a bit of Farida and her character personalities, I wished a more in-depth glimpse of Violet was given. One part in the book particularly stood out for me. The death of Violet and Farida’s nephew, Eddie. The very random way he died tells us that heroes don’t always die heroic and/or dramatic deaths. Overall, I thought that the length of Daughters of Iraq was too short for its type of story. I wanted to get to know each of the characters more before the book ended and wasn’t entirely satisfied with the happily-ever-after hints at the ending. But nevertheless, the historical aspect of the plot kept me enthralled with the story. It was interesting reading about the lives of Iraqi Jews and their migration to the new state of Israel.
Revital Shiri-Horowitz was born and raised in Israel. Her parents immigrated to Israel from Iraq. She earned multiple degrees from Tel Aviv University and Haifa University before becoming an assistant professor of Geography at those universities. Her first book, Daughters of Iraq, was published in Hebrew four years ago. It was translated and published in English in April 2011. She is currently working on her second novel, Hope to See You Soon. Visit her website at www.revital-sh.com.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”