The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State by Nadia Murad

Jill Rey

4 Stars

November 27, 2017

Publication Date: November 7th, 2017

Rating: 4 ¼ Stars

I knew, given the book’s description, this would be a tough one to read.  The events Nadia lays out within the pages of this book are still so fresh, having taken place in 2014 to present day.  However, despite knowing this and preparing myself for this, this was still a very painful read.  As an American there are many, MANY, things I take for granted, however this book immediately re-grounds you and even lights a fire in you to make a difference in doing something positive. 

Nadia does a great job of acclimating the reader to her world.  She begins by explaining her religion, Yazidi.  Yazidi, unlike many religions does not have a book, like that of the bible, as such it is often not recognized as a religion by others and has negative connotations to many of the citizens of Iraq.  Regardless, the Yazidi religion is of the utmost importance to its members and holds a powerful grip on the customs and traditions of its people.  In this part of the world it was important to understand the powers of religion as it has caused a seismic rift in Iraqi culture.  Throughout the book, I compared Nadia’s world to my own in America, the powers religion has on the country of Iraq are a far cry from the rather lacking religious hold in the United States. 

I also found Nadia’s description of school interesting.  In Iraq, schools are not taught in her native language, but rather in Arab.  They are taught about violence from day one, as much of their history revolves around wars and bloodshed that have occurred.   She described, this view on bloodshed is portrayed as heroic and patriotic, which I can’t help but find incredibly similar to the teaching of bloodshed in the United States.  In the U.S., our military spending is light-years beyond the budget for other necessities.  Military is portrayed as the top priority and while members of the military are heroic in their own right, bloodshed is taught throughout the history of the U.S. 

In keeping with the education theme, in the United States much time is spent teaching the events of WWII.  From the holocaust to the blitz on London, entire units are dedicated to the genocide and study of Hitler’s regime.  However, it is abundantly clear within The Last Girl that the genocide of Jews by Hitler was NOT the end of religious persecution or massive genocide.  In 2014 and present day, the ongoing genocide of Yazidi’s in Iraq and human trafficking of women are very much still happening, and while Nazi’s were immediately prosecuted for their crimes against Jews it wasn’t until 16 years after the genocide in Rwanda that contributors were tried for their crimes.  Nadia begs the same does not happen of participants in the Yazidi genocides. 

This book was a huge wakeup call from my American comforts and freedoms.  EVERYONE should be educated on the atrocities that continue to happen around the world.  As more become educated, and aware of the cruelties happening, I am hopeful the frequency of genocides will recede and Nadia truly will be “The Last Girl.”  I applaud Nadia’s courage in telling her story, and taking part in ending the violence.  I hope her story urges others to fight back, show compassion to victims and contribute to the end of such violence, as it does me.  We can all strive to fight back, even in simple acts such as showing kindness, welcoming refugees, and providing monetary support to aid agencies worldwide. 

*Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by Blogging for Books, in conjunction with the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.