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Genre: Non-fiction (memoir)

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1 Genre: Non-fiction (memoir)
Barefoot in Baghdad Genre: Non-fiction (memoir) Number of pages: 237 This novel takes place in a war-torn country This novel is set in Baghdad (capital city of Iraq). This novel is set in a place where women are expected to live and behave a certain way. Isha Ralhan January 14, 2013 Miss Shava

2 Author-Manal Omar Manal Omar was born in Saudi Arabia,
but was raised in the United States. She is an American woman of Arab descent. She is 32 years old. She likes swimming and tries to stay active as much as possible. She is the director of Iraq and Iran programs at the Center for Post-Conflict Peace and Stability Operations at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). She responds to humanitarian crises and is a women’s rights activist. She has served as USIP’s chief of party in Baghdad from October 2009 to January 2010. She has lived in Iraq and has set up operations there for the Women for Women International program.

3 Main Characters The four main characters are: Manal Omar, Yusuf, Fadi and Mais. Manal Omar is an American woman of Arab descent. She wears the hijab. She speaks a little bit of Arabic, but mostly knows English. Manal is an American aid worker and is part of the Women for Women International Organization. She goes to Iraq to help the women there cope with the war and its aftermath. Manal is a very compassionate, understanding and determined person. She is determined to help the women in Iraq rebuild their lives and stand on their own two feet. She is true to her Islamic beliefs.

4 Yusuf, Fadi and Mais are men from Iraq.
They are part of Manal’s group (logistics team). At first, none of them liked Manal because they were expecting to work with a ‘true American.’ Instead they got someone who looked a lot like an Arab woman. Eventually Manal impresses the guys with her outstanding skills. Fadi and Mais have dark hair and dark skin. Yusuf has a lighter skin color and dirty blond hair cut in a military style. Yusuf is more reserved than the other two men. All three of them are always willing to help Manal no matter what the price may be. All four of the characters become good friends. Yusuf and Manal get married at the end.

5 Summary Manal Omar is an American woman who is part of the Women for Women International Organization (NGO). She is selected by the organization to go to Iraq and help the women their cope with the war at its aftermath. This is a story of how women attempt to go on with their lives in the face of a war. However, her Arabic heritage and beliefs get in the way of her goal. This is a story about her efforts to gain the trust of Iraqi women and her logistics team. Throughout the book Manal struggles to help women rebuild their lives, while exploring her own identity.

6 She attends many meetings and meets with other organizations to get as much information as possible.
Also at that time the Americans had invaded Iraq and promised to make it a better place. Manal did not believe that at first but she eventually begins to understand that they are here to help. The essential part of the program was teaching job skills to women to allow them to generate their own income. Manal is able to set up a few Women Centers throughout Baghdad, but without much success. The war starts to cause Manal a problem. Since she is an American who is part of a non-governmental organization she is in danger of being attacked.

7 She is immediately told to get out of Iraq by her organization.
The Women Centers are forgotten about and everything goes back to the way it was before. Once the war starts to came down, Manal comes back and tries to make everything better. This is a story of making Iraq a better place, so that woman don’t have to pay the price. It is about finding out what it means to be a female in a homeland you no longer recognize. The story “outlines the journey of a nation determined to rise from the ashes of a war and sanctions and to re-create itself in the face of overwhelming obstacles” (Omar 3). It is also the story of Manal, “struggling to understand her identity against the backdrop of a country in turmoil” (Omar 3).

8 Likes and Dislikes Likes:
The novel carries a very powerful message for women. The book shows that women are not weak and are capable of standing on their own two feet. The author discusses about 3-4 cases in depth and doesn't go all over the place. Written from the first-person perspective. Dislikes: The author did not describe the characters in detail. It took a long time for the book to get interesting. The book was too long. The book was sort of confusing in the beginning.

9 Vocabulary 1). Arbitrary: Depending on individual discretion (as of a judge) and not fixed by law. Sentence: Because the group could not come to a decision on lunch, Allison made an arbitrary choice and ordered pizza. 2). Atonement: Reparation for an offense or injury ; amends. Sentence: The apologies, and amends made by the vandals served as an atonement, so the judge reduced their fines. 3). Hierarchy: The classification of a group of people according to ability or to economic, social, or professional standing. Sentence: He was at the bottom of the corporate hierarchy.

10 4). Secularism: Indifference to or rejection or exclusion of religion and religious considerations. Sentence: Keeping religion out of the public school system is an example of secularism. Sentence: I heard her say she was against imperialism and for social justice, but she did not say that secularism is necessary for democracy. 5). Stipulation: A condition, demand, requirement or promise in an agreement or contract. Sentence: Entries that do not meet this stipulation will be disqualified. 6). Volatile: Tending or threatening to break out into open violence; explosive. Sentence: The protests are increasing, creating a volatile situation in the capital.

11 Letter The reasons that you should read this book are:
This novel gives you a chance to glimpse the real Iraqi life beyond the green zone (safe area within Iraq) through the eyes of a bright, young, idealistic humanitarian aid worker. It captures the complex reality of living and working in a war-torn country. It is about the struggles that an American woman of Arab descent must go through to make the lives of other women better (one woman as enough power to make a huge difference). This book gives you a perspective of how people attempt to go on with their lives when everything is out of control.

12 Theme The theme of the book as to do with human rights and survival.
This is a story of class society where women are expected to live and behave a certain way according to historic customs (have no rights). Manal comes to Iraq determined to make the lives of women better. She tries to fight for women’s rights and make them strong. In this book, women have to learn how to survive in the midst of bombs and explosions. Manal also has to learn how to survive in a different country. An American woman of Arab descent must struggle to survive in a homeland that she no longer recognizes. Manal has to go through many hardships to find a place for herself in Iraq and the hearts of Iraqi women.

13 Review I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
First of all the book was too long. There were some parts in the book that she didn’t need to add. She mentions the struggles she goes through over and over again. I found it boring and confusing in the beginning. First she is talking about a woman she is helping and then she goes into how she got to Iraq. By the time the author made it back to the woman she was helping, I had forgotten all about it. However, the book was well written. As the book progresses it becomes more interesting.

14 I could really connect to all the characters through her writing style.
She gives the reader an inside glimpse into how people live in a war-torn country. The stories make you feel like your living in Iraq at that time. I like the powerful message that Omar delivers through this story. It is easy for the reader to understand how an aid worker helps people in need through Manal’s stories. She chose to focus on four to five cases she dealt with, which made it even easier to understand. I would highly recommend you to read this book because you get to experience the reality of living in a country at war. It is a heartbreaking story of an American aid worker who struggles to help women and make an impact on their lives.

15 Title Change I would change the title of the story to: Land of Thorns.
I would change it to that because living in a war-torn country is like walking barefoot in a land scattered with thorns. Also it is not easy to jump over every thorn and save yourself from getting hurt-the same way that it is not easy to overcome every obstacle in life. In the book, Manal struggles to overcome all the obstacles standing in her way. However, she has to do everything carefully so that her efforts pay off. This title is perfect for the book because you have to walk slowly and carefully on a land full of thorns if you want to make it successfully to the end (the goal).

16 Manal’s Help This is a story of what happens in real life.
In places like this, women always end up paying the price. For example: -if a woman’s husband dies in war, she is left to survive on her own. - sometimes a woman is married at a young age and her husband abandons her the next day. The woman’s family refuses to take her back because she is now a disgrace to their family. What is the woman supposed to do now? This is where Manal comes in. She deals with rape victims, prostitutes, victims of young marriage, etc…. Manal tries to help women stand up for their rights. This novel makes you understand that:

17 Bibliography "Arbitrary - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary." Dictionary and Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Jan <>. "Atonement - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary." Dictionary and Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Jan <>. "Helen's Book Blog: Review: Barefoot in Baghdad (Omar)." Helen's Book Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Jan <>.

18 "Hierarchy - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary." Dictionary and Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Jan < >. "Manal Omar." Manal Omar. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan < >. Omar, Manal. Barefoot in Baghdad. Naperville, Illinois: Sourcebooks, Print.

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