What an incredible journey: Growing up with a mother who doesn’t support you is a really tough challenge and one that many fail to survive. Shiri-Horovitz tells her own story with the intellect and precision of an analytical and reflective person, vulnerable but not a victim; well, clearly a victim of circumstances but not one to merely point the finger and just sit back and feel sorry for herself.
Inspiring at times, painful at others, refreshingly honest, informative and helpful are some of the words that spring to mind. Something that has the potential to help thousands of people and an amazing journey that is compelling to watch.
Having read the author’s other books it’s great to hear her own voice in a biographical context. I had no idea there had been so much pain and struggle in her life. All the more reassuring that people can pull through, as she did.
Whether your own mother was narcissistic or maybe someone else’s was, there is something to learn from this for everyone. Thanks for sharing your story, which can’t have been easy.
Highly recommended.

Buy the book on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Link to my interview with Revital and review of “The Daughters of Iraq”


I was born and raised in Israel. As the oldest child of a family of three, I was the one who would daydream, I was the one who read like a bookworm, and I was the one who was so influenced by books, that I could act as if I were the main character in the book of real life for weeks…My father owned a small appliance shop and my mom was a stay-at-home mom. Both my parents immigrated to Israel from Iraq in 1950, but met twelve years later and married. As a kid, I remember writing poetry and some short stories. I had a journal I wrote in almost every day since I was nine years old, and up to the time I met my husband, but never imagined that one day I would become a published author in more than one language, and in so many countries, and even continents.I come from a very creative family. Three out of six of my uncles and aunt are published poets, and four of my cousins are well known musicians in Israel, so I don’t really understand why I never thought of myself as a writer (probably because I just did not have the guts…).

In Israel, after I graduated from high school I went to the army. I volunteered for special service with an army unit based in Kibbutz Eilot, located next to the Red Sea port city of Eilat. In that unit I worked in the kibbutz at the laundry, with kids ages three and ten (and loved it!), and even in the kitchen and dining room. It was an experience I will never forget, and influenced me, since this was the first time in my life that I was actually independent and away from my family.

After army service of two and a half years I went to Tel Aviv University, where I studied Hebrew Literature and Geography. I loved studying, and this is the reason I hold two Master degrees in both subjects, and a teaching certificate. During my studies I met my husband-to-be, and we moved to London for a year.

The year we spent in London was quite a shock for me. As an Israeli, I was always following the news, checking to see if any catastrophe happened, living life on a very fast track. While in London, I learned that the “hot subject” was usually the cold weather and the rain. After a year we moved back to Israel and I went back to school. A year later we married and after another year I became a very proud mom to a beautiful boy. I was the happiest woman on earth when that happened. I felt that I achieved the most important thing in life – I gave life.

Two years passed and we moved to Washington State. I love this area very much, but as an Israeli, I never got used to the cold weather, so three years (and another boy) later, we moved back to Israel, this time for about three and a half years, and then with a third son returned to the US. During our stay in Israel earned a second degree in Hebrew Literature, where I focused on Women Studies. I remember taking a class that had a discussion on Jewish women in Arab countries. I remember how upset I was to learn about these women were forgotten, weak, and had lives that lacked meaning, while I knew how powerful the women in my family were back then in Iraq. I remember speaking about this with my aunt, and her suggesting that I can write the story of the women in our family.

Am I a writer? I wasn’t very sure, but decided it was worth taking the risk. I started investigating, and taped my aunt, and decided to try and write a novel that would be based on my family’s story. That would be my best chance to reach as many readers as possible, I thought. A character came to my mind, and she was based on a neighbor I once had, who used to be a very good friend of my mom. She was also a mix of my mom and aunts. But where is she located, I wondered, and what was she doing? In my imagination she was living in a small town, and she was for sure proudly cooking I thought, Iraqi dishes. You see, in our Iraqi Jewish family a mom feeds everyone. My mom is still the same way, and food has a central role in our life.

Then came the second character, the sister of this woman whom I named Farina. She was the family intellectual, and was writing the family story because she was sick with cancer. She wanted to leave it for her children to learn later in life about their roots and origin. I named her Violet, since in Iraq they used English names because the British had ruled for many years.

The third main character was Violet’s daughter, Noa, a student in her twenties, trying to find her happiness and herself.

Writing this book took five years. Another boy was added to our family, and the book was first published in Israel. As we moved back and forth, my dream was to publish in English too, which I did.

I am now a mother of four boys, married to same husband for twenty years, writing more poetry, running a blog in “Haaretz”, an Israeli newspaper, and working for the last three years on a second novel.