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

Current stop: Iraq

I still think that being forced to leave your home out of fear is one of the worst injustices a human being can face. Everything you love is stolen, and you risk your life to live in a place that means nothing to you and where, because you come from a country now known for war and terrorism, you are not really wanted.

Originally I had not intended on reading memoirs, I was more interested in fiction written by women all over the world. But then I ran into a significant road block: there just isn’t a lot of fiction written by women from certain parts of the world, or at least not much translated into English.

Knowing that, I decided to open up to reading memoirs, and The Last Girl was one of the first I put on my “to-read” list.

This is no easy read. It is gut-wrenching. What Nadia Murad endured is a atrocity beyond my own comprehension. I cried real, sobbing tears while reading this. (Another memoir I read this year, although not read as part of this challenge, The Only Girl in the World: A Memoir, caused me to similarly break down). Crying like this is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I am really glad I read both of these books. It is so important that these women who have suffered get the opportunity to tell their stories. In the case of The Last Girl, Murad was one of more than 6,700 Yazidi women to be taken prisoner by the Islamic state. Her family, community, and own life was utterly destroyed. She was forced into sex slavery. This was a genocide of the Yazidi people.

Murad is angry. She does not shy away from this anger in her writing. This may not appeal to every reader. I, however, find it extremely justifiable. She is grateful for those who helped her, but she questions those who did not. I find this to be natural, especially considering what she endured and how recently she suffered. The bulk of the events in her memoir took place in 2014.

Despite all of this, she is incredibly brave and resilient. I honestly cannot imagine how she is able go on. She is truly a remarkable woman.

Next stop: Iran.

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