“Poppies of Iraq alternates its author’s happy memories of her childhood in Mosul with those of her later visits there after her Orthodox Christian family’s move to France in the 70s.”
Featured in The Guardian’s Best Graphic Novels of 2017.
Poppies of Iraq is an absorbing and highly illustrated biography that offers its readers, an insider’s view of the snappy cultural changes that anguished Iraq in the latter half of the 20th century.
The author Brigitte is an energetic guide who has gained a lot of experience through an array of childhood experiences. Short renderings about her school, family and local customs are alternately funny, bittersweet and at the same time, impactful as a series of political and military coups affect the life of her family in Iraq.
The book contains vivid illustrations that are contrasting with black-and-white family photos, which bring to life, the actual individuals. A random example of this can be the opening scene, which shows you a young Brigitte playing midst the ancient ruins at an archaeological site.
The start of Poppies of Iraq sets a strong locution, where we see Brigitte and her family picnic at the ruins of Nimrud, that was a cultural heritage site which belonged to the Assyrian people. It got destroyed by ISIS in 2015. Brigitte uses the links between the current regional instability and her childhood to display the contrast between that time and the current date. And it’s noteworthy that she tries to do that all throughout the book.
Needless to say, the second author Lewis Trondheim’s spare cartooning dominates the entire content to a greater extent. Brigitte as a child looks everlastingly like a five-year-old whereas all the other characters are simplistic.