Sara Sg's Reviews > Talking about Jane Austen in Baghdad: The True Story of an Unlikely Friendship

Talking about Jane Austen in Baghdad by May Witwit
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's review
Mar 08, 12

bookshelves: memoir, politics, middle-east
Read from February 04 to March 08, 2012

It was great to have some first hand insight into the life of Iraq after the war. I enjoyed the idea of this unlikely friendship and how it turned out to be beneficial for both May and for Iraq, in having its voice heard. A promotional story, indeed. My complaint however, was that it was too long for what it delivered. A lot of the emails --after a certain point in the story-- lost their charm and felt tedious and uninteresting. Perhaps they meant to preserve and deliver the friendship in its original form? unnecessary, in my opinion. A wise choice is a revision that cuts out about one third of the emails.
It's also possible that because I'm fairly familiar with both sides of this cultural exchange, there was little surprise for me in it. So perhaps, for someone who is completely new to life in the middle east this book has more excitement to offer.
In the end, one point should be emphasized: after reading this book, I'm more certain that ever that war should never be an alternative to dictatorship. How could people be convinced that something as destructive as a war could be the step after dictatorship on the process of social evolution and improvement, or as they call it, 'democracy'.

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