Library Journal reviews Poppies of Iraq

“Poppies of Iraq” / Library Journal / Martha Cornog / December 6, 2017

The personal and political interweave in this sad yet charming memoir. Having grown up in Mosul, Iraq, 14-year-old Findakly (colorist, The Rabbi’s Cat and other French comics) immigrated in 1973 to Paris, where her mother was born. Like snapshots, ­Findakly’s story toggles back and forth in time, depicting memories mixed with historical background and “In Iraq” vignettes about customs in that country. With the father an army dentist, the author’s Christian family survives multiple regime coups and escalating civil unrest while submitting to shortages, government censorship, and increased repression. Later, life in Paris comes as a shock to the teen since incomprehensible bureaucracies exist there as well. ­Trondheim’s (Dungeon) simple, childlike drawings evoke the unquestioning acceptance shown by citizens forbidden from protesting anything and who avoid political discussions. Indeed, Findakly’s cheerful coloring exudes paradoxical normality. VERDICT Like Marjane ­Satrapi’s Persepolis, but for Iraq, this work demonstrates how the unthinkable and unexpected for some can be normal to those who live under such circumstances on a daily basis. For all readers interested in Middle Eastern issues.

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