Diary of a Teenage Girl in Iraq

Edited by Elizabeth Wrigley-Field and John Ross

"I forgot what peace looks like. What the street looks like. What the sky in the night look like. What my relatives look like. Sometimes I just think that if you could see what my eyes see, if you could hear what my ears hear, you would be able to understand what I mean."

These are the words of IraqiGirl, a teenage girl blogging from the city of Mosul, Iraq, as the chaos and violence of military occupation unfold in the aftermath of the American invasion. In a narrative charged with anger, IraqiGirl wants her readers to understand what life is really like under military occupation. “Let’s go back,” she writes, “to my un-normal life.” And here IraqiGirl allows us to discover a story the Western media rarely allow us a glimpse of: the story of how the Iraq War has shattered lives and broken hearts. But we also discover, in her personal reflections on family, friendship, and community, the resilience of one girl to not only survive, but to discover, amidst the devastation of war, a future worth living for.

As she writes: “For the sake of the smile that was given to no one but me, for the sake of my grandpa and for the sake of my country and for the sake of my religion and for the sake of my God . . . I want to know my destination.”


“IraqiGirl provides a vital opening into the lives and thinking of the people to whom we brought ‘freedom.’ Indeed, American readers’ eyes will be opened by this young woman’s frank views on religion, life under the Saddam dictatorship, and the American occupation. Her lively language will speak to young readers, while they pick up new perspectives on the U.S. role in the Middle East…. An important addition to multicultural literature, which vivifies awareness of what has been happening in Iraq and puts American teenagers in touch with the world in a way that no other form of reporting could match.”
—Elsa Marston, author of Santa Claus in Baghdad and Other Stories About Teens in the Arab World

“A book as relevant to adults as teenagers and children. Hadiya’s clear simple language helps, in addition to convey the feelings of a teenager, to have a glimpse into the daily life of a professional middle class Iraqi family in an ancient-modern city subjected to a brutal occupation.”
—Haifa Zangana, author of City of Widows: An Iraqi Woman’s Account of War and Resistance

"As the war and occupation began, a crop of Iraqi bloggers took the stage to stand as public witnesses to the ravages of war. Their work caused rise to a new genre of book-compilations of blog posts. Baghdad Burning by Riverbend and Iraq War Blog stand out as those that should be required reading for anyone studying the war.
A new book now joins that list of must-reads, IraqiGirl. This compilation of blog posts stands out from the rest because of the age of the writer. Hadiya published her first post on July 29, 2004 at the age of 15. Her writing focuses far more on her family and school than on the politics and battlefield that consumed the writing of Riverbend and others. On one hand, it makes the book less useful for scholars of the war but on the other, it is an essential tool for activists and those teaching younger generations in the United States and around the world about what it's like to live with war surrounding you."—Eric Leaver, Foreign Policy in Focus
To read the full review, visit