Talking About Jane Austen in Baghdad : The True Story of an Unlikely Friendship
A London mum and Iraqi teacher should have nothing in common. Yet now, despite their differences, they're the firmest of friends . . . Talking About Jane Austen in Baghdad by Bee Rowlatt and May Witwit is a touching and poignant portrait of an unlikely friendship.Would you brave gun-toting militias for a cut and blow dry?May's a tough-talking, hard-smoking, lecturer in English. She's also an Iraqi from a Sunni-Shi'ite background living in Baghdad, dodging bullets before breakfast, bargaining for high heels in bombed-out bazaars and battling through blockades to reach her class of Jane Austen-studying girls. Bee, on the other hand, is a London mum of three, busy fighting off PTA meetings and chicken pox, dealing with dead cats and generally juggling work and family while squabbling with her globe-trotting husband over the socks he leaves lying around the house.They should have nothing in common.But when a simple email brings them together, they discover a friendship that overcomes all their differences of culture, religion and age. Talking About Jane Austen in Baghdad is the story of two women who share laughter and tears, and swap their confidences, dreams and fears. And, between the grenades, the gossip, the jokes and the secrets, they also hatch an ingenious plan to help May escape the bombings of Baghdad . . .Bee Rowlatt is a former show-girl turned BBC World Service journalist. A mother of three and would-be do-gooder, she can find keeping her career going while caring for her three daughters (and husband) pretty tough, even in leafy North London. May Witwit is an Iraqi expert in Chaucer and sender of emails depicting kittens in fancy dress. She is prepared to face every hazard imaginable to make that all-important hairdresser's appointment.
- Paperback | 384 pages
- 128 x 192 x 30mm | 258.55g
- 11 May 2011
- Penguin Books Ltd
- London, United Kingdom
About Bee Rowlatt
Bee Rowlatt is a former show-girl turned BBC World Service journalist. A mother of three and would-be do-gooder, she can find keeping her career going while caring for her three daughters (and husband) pretty tough, even in leafy North London. May Witwit is an Iraqi expert in Chaucer and sender of emails depicting kittens in fancy dress. She is prepared to face every hazard imaginable to make that all-important hairdresser's appointment.
Our customer reviews
I could not put this book down and it made you question our involvement in Iraq. It certainly made me sit back and appreciate things that we take so much for granted. It is a definite must read. Judy, Australiashow moreby Judy Marshall
The true story of May Witwit my childhood neighbour and school friend while she lived in the UK as a child, now an Iraqi Academic, her survival in Iraq and journey to safety in the UK via her email friendship with a BBC journalist How to survive life in a war zone... leaving earlier to go to work in order to get through the checkpoints ...But still going to work!! What to do when doing your hair and the electricity goes off...Go to work half curly and half straight! How to encourage kids to still study during chaos.... show them its business as usual, lessons give a touch of normality... The story we didn't hear in the news, of ordinary daily life during the Iraq war as told by an Iraqi It isn't often that two 51 year old women who were neighbours and school friends aged 11 meet up again in London on a sunny May afternoon after almost 40 years, and when one asks the other "What have you been doing, what has happened to you...?" She knows that it is a daft question really and the answer is too harrowing to imagine for the answer lies in the reply "Read my book!" I owe more than I can possibly express to Bee Rowlatt, thanks to her courage, daring and friendship my childhood friend is safe in the UK, and I have met her again after forty years. An inspiring book that will move the reader to tears in its accounts of courage, Bee in doing the ultimate and saving the life of her friend, and May for surviving and wanting to be rescued ... It will make you smile and put lots of troubles in perspectiveshow moreby Valerie Hedges
I loved this book the insight into May's world, the friendship that develops and the lack of hatred on both sides. This gave me an entirely different view of life for everyday people who have to live in Baghdad and Iraq. It was an easy read that made me laugh as well as come close to tears. Maybe the politicians should read this too.show moreby veronica walsh