Tara Chevrestt's Reviews > Barefoot in Baghdad: A Story of Identity-My Own and What It Means to Be a Woman in Chaos

Barefoot in Baghdad by Manal M. Omar
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's review
Sep 26, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: 2010-release, non-fiction, memoir, iraq
Read on September 26, 2010

I was actually unable to finish this, but I paid ten dollars for it so I am stating my opinion.

I hated it. It is very anti American. I'm surprised Sourcebooks picked it up because they have normally chosen their publications very well.

You got a woman, born in Saudi Arabia, of Palestine descent who has had the opportunity to live the American dream. While she has been living comfortably in America as a citizen with all the benefits, Iraq has been under Saddam and living in oppression and with fear of being shot for whatever reason. But this woman travels to Iraq and on every other page, speaks against the Iraq war and the American government. At first, I thought she is entitled to her opinion, but when she started saying stuff like this: "I strongly believed that the U.S. forces in Iraq would bring nothing but destruction to the country," I threw the book against the wall.

Throughout all her ranting, she is meeting Iraqi people that are happy to be free of Saddam, pleased to be allowed to speak their minds without fear of being shot or sent to Iran, enjoying internet and American movies, and women happy not to cover themselves. As one Iraqi says to her, "Only you see the Americans as an enemy. We do not."

Dear author, Thousands of American soldiers died so the Iraqis could use the internet and watch American movies. And they were doing their jobs. These guys are away from their kids and their wives for sometimes a year or more. Coming from a military oriented family, I can't read this extreme criticism of their accomplishments. I guess the author would prefer Iraq still be under Saddam?

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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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Susan I'm curious to see what you think of this one. I'm glad I read it, but I still have mixed feelings about it.

message 2: by Tara (new) - rated it 1 star

Tara Chevrestt So far, so good.. but something I don't understand. The author states that the U.S. has made a mess of Iraq and blah blah.. BUT the Iraquis seem glad that Saddam was overthrown.. so what exactly are they complaining about?

message 3: by Janet (new)

Janet If the author liked Iraq the way it was WHY was she living in the United States and enjoying the freedoms we have? It doesn't make sense to me at all. Why on earth didn't she take her self back there then and stay there?
Very good review Tara. I think I would have threw it in the fire place. LOL I hope the author has taken up residence in Iraq now.

message 4: by Tara (last edited Sep 26, 2010 10:38PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Tara Chevrestt She married an Iraqi so maybe she did. I just couldn't handle it. I won't say the war was perfectly handled, but it's done, it's over and the people seem happier for it so where is her hate coming from?

Susan I am not at all surprised that you gave it one star, Tara. I liked it more than you did because I liked the story and the information. And I still think the author did help people. I just didn't like her attitude and her arrogance. I don't want to get into a political debate, but I do think that the U.S. made some very serious mistakes in Iraq. Still, not everything was bad, some things did help, and we were not the cause of evil there. The author is entitled to her opinion, but I didn't like it that she wanted it both ways -- she didn't like the military but she pretty much demanded favors from them.

Like I wrote in my review, the problem with the book started for me in the introduction, and I usually manage to at least get to the actual body of a book before red flags go up. The author seemed so quick to point fingers and criticize, and not just the American military but also other people trying to help, but seemed blind to how she was contributing to the problems while she was trying to help the people. Criticizing the woman who ran the orphanage really rankled.

Well, the book is good for this -- it gets people talking!

message 6: by Tara (new) - rated it 1 star

Tara Chevrestt I just can't sit there and read anything that implies that our boys wasted their time.. that their sacrifice isn't appreciated. I get upset. The woman comes across as very very ungrateful. Not everything about that war was handled well, but don't blame the boys.

Susan No, I don't either, with some very horrible and well-publicized exceptions. The author's attitude seemed to be that she would judge them all as bad and they would have to prove otherwise rather than meeting each person as an individual without preconceived notions.

I thought it really interesting how some interpreters actually stirred up trouble for their own gain rather than just interpreting. In one case she mentioned, the interpreter had the Americans and Iraqis hating each other simply because the interpreter was making things up.

message 8: by Tara (new) - rated it 1 star

Tara Chevrestt I thought that comment was pretty funny and on the mark.. "Only you see the Americans as an enemy. We do not."

How could a woman who has had every American opportunity and lived a sheltered life hate her own country?? Mind boggling. I don't agree with everything the government does, but to speak so hatefully against my country? No way. And the military.. I have the absolute, greatest respect for those guys. There really should be a warning on these books. Some of us just aren't going to like them.

I got it posted for swap and if someone doesn't request it, I don't know what the heck I'm gonna do with it. I sure as hell can't donate this to the base library!

message 9: by Janet (new)

Janet You guys have some good points. I would be very angry if someone came up to me and told me that "I strongly believed that the U.S. forces in Iraq would bring nothing but destruction to the country,".
Iraq is not the only country that lost men and women. Let's not forget this all started because of 9/11. Being a prior military myself and have loved one serving there country at this moment I can not tolerate such words and criticism from a lady who has taken advantage of all America has to offer.
If no one request the book Tara let the girls tear it to bits.

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