As I mentioned when I wrote my March Reading list post, I was unsure if I’d like The Poppy Field Diary. After reading more about the book, I decided it might be interesting after all and requested the review copy. While waiting for the book to arrive, I kept bouncing back and forth…I just wasn’t sure if the story would hold my interest. However, when the book arrived I was ready to begin reading The Poppy Field Diary and to see if it would capture my imagination.
The Poppy Field Diary shares the intimate story of an Afghanistan woman who, amidst the traditional world of Afghanistan, found solace in her poppy field where she could walk unveiled and dream about her future. She carried with her a diary weathered with age. It was her father’s before it was hers and knowing he carried it with him gave her comfort. Her father was a foreigner to this country, but he loved her mother and her mother loved him and she often wondered how life would have been if her father hadn’t died. She could tell from the stories her mother shared that their love was true. It was these stories that helped to form her views about love. A view she carried with her when she met and married a young gentleman by the name of Amir. It was a view she began to question when life became complicated with family, rivalries, war, and deception. She tried to cling to her hope that love would endure, but found that it had to begin within her. Could she bring herself to forgive and learn to love unconditionally?
I was drawn into the story written by Carey Richard. Although the name of the woman we read about in The Poppy Field Diary is never disclosed, she becomes a friend to the reader. We discover her intimate thoughts, her dreams, her failures, and her desires: bringing us closer to her and the story she shares with us.
Throughout the life of the protagonist, we are given glimpses of the history of Afghanistan and the country’s political battles. This was the area I was concerned about when I first read the synopsis of the book. I had no need to worry though. The author did a wonderful job of intertwining the history into the story. It was subtle, yet informative, and it didn’t overpower the personal story being told. It was also a necessary addition since Amir’s livelihood was smuggling guns and supplies to the faction he supported.
The book’s chapter titles reflect the topic or the emotion about to unfold in the upcoming chapter. When the chapter comes to an end, a poem is shared with the reader summarizing the main character’s feelings about the events that just occurred. There are over 30 chapters in this book, which gives you a hint as to the many different emotions our central character went through and the multiple subjects the book covers: Isolate, Unworthy, Lonely (these are just a few I mention for reference, but there are so many more to explore when you read the book).
In the back of the book there is a glossary of words and terms used in the story which are helpful if you are not familiar with them. It also provides a brief history of the situations covered in the book.
I found The Poppy Field Diary to be a delightful reading journey. It followed the entire lifespan of the main character and I liked how the supporting characters were revealed through the eyes of the main character. It was from her thoughts and from her recollection of certain events that you learned more about the other people mentioned in the book. As if you were having a conversation with her about her life and those she encountered during her journey, learning more about them through her tales and recollections.
Due to the sexual content and the war conditions shared in the book, I would suggest the reader be 18 or over. Those who are interested in Afghan culture would enjoy this book. It’s not a romance novel, but if you like romance entwined in your story, you’ll want to read this book. I also think the story is balanced enough for both men and women readers.
For more information about the author, check out his website at http://careyrichard.com/about-me/. His blog also provides a few sample writings of The Poppy Field Diary. If you are interested in reading a few paragraphs before purchasing the book, you can do so here: http://careyrichard.com/category/the-poppy-field-diary/.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”