Book review: The Girl Who Beat Isis, by Farida Khalaf with Andrea C. Hoffmann (Amazon / Book Depository)
New English translation of the memoir of a young Yazidi girl’s experiences in ISIS captivity. It’s horrifying stuff, but she turns out to be more of a fighter than any of the ISIS soldiers she encounters.
I was so sad that a recurring thought she had was of being shamed and bringing shame on her family after what was done to her. When she ended up in a refugee camp after her escape, she indeed encounters some of this behavior, as if she’d done wrong just by surviving when that should’ve been celebrated. I was worried this difficult cultural aspect would go unresolved, but her explanation for how she faced this, dealt with it, and will continue to deal with it was very powerful. She’s got this.
A very important book and a quick read – if you’re even wondering if you should read it, the answer is yes. It’s so crucial to understand what others are going through in these very messed up times. I can think of a lot of people who could stand to have a little more compassion for others and maybe a personal story like this one would help. I hope that it reaches a lot of people and helps.
The story itself is incredible, I loved that so much of this strong girl’s spirit came through, but I had to knock off a star for some of the way too British slang in the translation. I liked that there were recreations of dialogue, especially since this all takes place in the very recent past so I would expect some of it to still be pretty fresh in memory. But it completely takes you out of the narrative to read some words or expressions that were so distinctly British when I think some more universal phrasing would’ve sufficed.
The Girl Who Beat ISIS: Farida’s Story
by Farida Khalaf, Andrea C. Hoffman
published July 7, 2016 by Square Peg
Alternative title: The Girl Who Escaped Isis
Original German: Das Mädchen, das den IS besiegte: Faridas Geschichte
I received an advance copy from the publisher for unbiased review.
Leave a Reply