Crystal Starr Light's Reviews > Saved by Her Enemy: An Iraqi woman's journey from the heart of war to the heartland of America

Saved by Her Enemy by Don Teague
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Jul 19, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, biography, amazon-vine
Read from January 30 to February 06, 2011 , read count: 1

"Suddenly, I realized why I was in Baghdad. My purpose was to get Rafraf out"

NOTE: I received this book as part of the Amazon Vine Program

Don Teague was an American NBC correspondent on assignment in Baghdad, February 2004. Rafraf Barrack was an Iraqi translator working for NBC. When a bomb explodes a school that both happen to be reporting at, Don realizes that he needs to get Rafraf, an intelligent young woman, out of Iraq.

I Liked:
The first thing that really impressed me was how Teague wrote in a very objective manner. He had no problems relaying his beliefs, his political viewpoints, and more, but he didn't make the story a platform for his view of the war in Iraq, President Bush, and Islam. I really appreciated this, as others might be inclined to spend more time about what they think of the situation, than the actual event they are trying to relay.
Which brings me to the actual story: wow! Talk about uplifting! In this day and age where kidnappings, murders, embezzlements and more are the news, it's nice to see such an inspiring story. Also, it was nice to see A) that all Americans aren't bad and B) that all Iraqis aren't bad. I know, I know, it's obvious that there are good and bad people of each and every nation, but sometimes I feel that too many movies, stories, and news reports draw lines. This one is not one of them.
My favorite scenes were those with Rafraf. Even though they are written in third person, I grew very close to her. The stories she told were eye-opening and honest, a window into a world I've never seen. As she grew throughout the story, I grew alongside her and cheered her on.

I Didn't Like:
Don Teague's sections, while important for the overall story and to show where our other "main character" was at the time, tended to be boring. Let's face it, Don is an average American. Other than being a reporter and going all over the world, there isn't much from him that differs from most other Americans.
But the more critical component, and the reason that I removed a star from the rating, was the enormous leap that happens from the last chapter to the epilogue. Don't worry, there aren't any spoilers, but I can say that A) the time jumps from 2005 to 2008, a whopping three years and B) Rafraf makes a HUGE change of character that I had almost no basis for. While the conclusion was fairly good at wrapping things up, it definitely felt like almost 100 pages were missing. I would have loved to see more of Rafraf integrating into American society and growing to the point where the epilogue would have been poignant instead of making me go, "Whoa, where did that come from?"
I know this is an ARC, so maybe it got corrected in the final version, but I noted several misspellings, grammatical errors, and tense shifts. Also, I wasn't impressed with how you would be reading about Rafraf in current time then suddenly, the next paragraph would take you to when she was a kid, and then the paragraph after that is back to present. My advice? Section breaks!

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
Mild profanity, such as da** and he**.
Rafraf has several boyfriends at one time.
Nothing graphic, but people (and these are real people) die in the course of the novel.

Overall:
The Iraq War has been filled with so much heated debate, it's hard to see the good things that have come from it. Don Teague and Rafraf Barrak use their story to show the world how one man was able to make a difference in a woman's life. It's an inspiring tale, a reminder that not everything is so bad after all.
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Reading Progress

01/30/2011 page 18
7.0%
02/06/2011 page 241
94.0% "I'm going to try to finish this one today...it's pretty interesting."
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