From Publishers Weekly
Laird weaves compelling facts about the conflicts between the Arabs and the Kurds into her gripping tale about one family's escape to freedom. After witnessing a teen's brutal murder and meeting a wounded revolutionary, 12-year-old Tara begins to realize the extent of persecution in her native Iraq. When her Kurdish father is sought by the secret police, Tara and her family abandon their home and head north to the mountains. Their refuge is short-lived, however; bombs begin to drop and they flee across the Iranian border to a primitive refugee camp. Stripped of their dignity and still not out of danger, the family plots to leave the continent, despite slim chances of asylum. The author personalizes the Kurdish experience by sensitively portraying Tara's feelings of loss, degradation and uprootedness. Although some readers may find the girl's initial naivete as hard to swallow as her abrupt awakening to violence, most will overlook these minor weaknesses as the story's tension rapidly mounts. Even those familiar with political problems in Iraq and Iran may be shocked by the graphic depiction of tyranny--and may sense that despite their hardships, Tara's family fares better than many people who risk their lives for independence. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Here, Laird, author of a poignant first novel about the effects of a hydrocephalic baby on his family (Loving Ben, 1989), portrays the journey of a Kurdish refugee family--a story based on the real experiences in the mid-80's of Iraqi Kurds now living in England. For Tara, 13, and her family, their ordeal is cruel and often life-threatening, yet they are among the lucky ones. Wealthy ``Baba'' (secretly a power in the Kurdish military) still has money even after repeated searches, while ``Daya'' manages to smuggle her jewels. Escaping the police as they leave their luxurious home in a city in northern Iraq, they take a taxi to their primitive vacation house in the mountains. For Tara, the return to village ways is almost as much of a shock as the bombs that eventually drive the family over the border into Iran, to a refugee camp infested with bedbugs and assaulted by deafening prayers rasped from a loudspeaker. Eventually, Baba makes contact with relatives in Teheran and passage to London is negotiated. Ever-present dangers maintain suspense--from a brutal street-killing Tara witnesses to her older brother's miraculous escape; meanwhile, Laird builds a sympathetic picture of the embattled Kurds and a compelling portrait of Tara and the sobering changes wrought in her and her family by the events, including her first startled response to a free society (``attractive and exciting...but frightening...as if things might suddenly get out of control''). An important contribution to the growing number of refugee stories. (Fiction. 10+) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.