Iraqi Girl – cookies and global perspective

Could you really ask for anything more than cookies and global perspective all wrapped up into one quick read? Have your heard of IraqiGirl: Diary of a Teenage Girl in Iraq? Here’s the blurb from Booklist:

“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

And for a little added insight here’s her actual blog which continues through October 2012. Admittedly, I read both the book and blog which might seem redundant. But I found that the added content in both enriched both. Not everything on the blog makes it into the book. And not everything in the book is on the blog. The book has a lot of “helps” contextual references to help place comments or events. In my opinion this would be an excellent One Book or Big Read project for a high school. I think it would be particularly difficult for children with military ties to read. Us military families view our military members as heros… that’s not the perspective that will be presented in the book.

What I liked: Global perspective. I have my own opinion about many of the issues. I won’t say that I agree or support the views represented by the author. BUT I do acknowledge the great courage and apparent transparant spirit with which it was written. Let’s face it, that’s what produces a great memoir and teaches us all something.

What I didn’t love: It’s a real blog written in the beginning by a 15 year old girl, with all of the randomness and silliness that a 15 year old girl has to offer. It’s not snuggle up by the fire, easy read material. I think that’s the value in having it as a read for teens, it will give them something to identify with. As parents we can see our children in a horrible situation.

Throughout the book she talks considerably about food… now this is a girl after my own heart! The best times seem to be Eid which is a big religious celebration. She makes what I believe are Klaicha:

cookies

Here’s my recipe made with dried apricots, not dates… because, well it’s what I had on hand.

1/4 c water

8 oz dried apricots

2 T butter

2 T honey

1/2 t almond extract

1 refrigerated pie crust

1 egg beaten

Chop apricots. Place in a pan with all ingredients EXCEPT pie crust and egg. Heat, stirring occassionally until apricots puff and liquid is thick. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cut circles from pie crust using a drinking glass. Fill each circle with a scant teaspoon of apricots and fold over into a half moon. Brush with a bit of egg and seal by crimping the edge. Brush top with egg & sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired. Bake at 400 for about 12 minutes or until golden brown.

** I should say I loved these with tea. My family didn’t think they were sweet enough… 😦

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