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Not Without My Daughter
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Not Without My Daughter

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  14,026 ratings  ·  833 reviews
In August 1984, Michigan housewife Betty Mahmoody accompanied her husband to his native Iran for a two-week vacation. To her horror, she found herself and her four-year-old daughter, Mahtob, virtual prisoners of a man rededicated to his Shiite Moslem faith, in a land where women are near-slaves and Americans are despised. Their only hope for escape lay in a dangerous under
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Hardcover, 1st edition , 342 pages
Published October 1st 1987 by St Martins Pr (first published 1982)
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Saeed Babakhani I want you all to pick up a phone and call the Iranian ambassy in the place you are residing and say you are married to a man/woman from Iran and want…moreI want you all to pick up a phone and call the Iranian ambassy in the place you are residing and say you are married to a man/woman from Iran and want a divorce. You will be told start to divorce him/her in your country then come to the ambassy to do it Iranian way!
Remember Betty is not converted to Islam. So practically she could give him problem for being with her without being married the Islamic way.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Beaman
The untruths begin with the cover of the book, which features the image of a woman who is dressed in a manner which is decidedly not Iranian. So, even before you have read a single word, you have been given an image that is not authentic.

The book is carefully packaged to cater to the American people's fears and prejudices. Also, the book isn't an isolated phenomenon. It's a product of a veritable cottage industry of horror stories and black-and-white portrayals of Muslim societies (Persepolis, R
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Denise
I have read this book twice and it is my all-time favorite book. I first watched the movie - one of those you catch by chance on a rainy day. I thought it was good. Then one day I saw the book and could not put it down! I could not believe some of the things I was reading. I was in shock! This was probably around 1999/2000.

The second time I read the book, probably around 2003/2004,I was reading it as an Iranian man's wife. I still loved the book and this time I knew a whole lot more about the cu
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Nancy
I can't believe people are still reading this book! I read it years ago when it first came out and had a difficult time putting it down. Not because it is great literature, or because it is an intelligent, thought-provoking book about a culture few Americans take the time to learn about, but because William Hoffer is capable of writing a light, fast-paced, adventurous story. I felt Betty Mahmoody acted very irresponsibly. She endangered her child by staying with a mentally unstable man, not to m ...more
Jafar
You can argue about how negative and stereotyping this book is, how it helped to reinforce generalized preconceptions about the Iranians, how it didn’t help to provide a better and more accurate picture of the Iranian society to the an already-hostile American public, how it was used by a sector of the American public and media who would happily jump on anything like this, how it was used by both sides as a political propaganda tool, etc. I read this book not long after I left Iran. I don’t reme ...more
Eve
My parents' divorce wasn’t the most amicable one out there, although you wouldn’t know it because they’re pretty good friends now. At the time, my dad was living and working in Mexico as a surgeon, which meant that every other weekend found my brother and I listlessly cooped up in my dad’s clinic in Zaragoza, a very poor community on the outskirts of Juarez. People made their homes out of cinder blocks, durable cardboard, and any other supplies they could find. It was like night and day compared ...more
Chick_Flick
The undertone of racism permeated this book. It was very hard to get through because of this. While at times I did feel for the situation the author was in, it was hard to sympathize with her on other occasions because she just seemed so judgmental. I understand she was angry and frustrated and had been through a lot; it probably would have been a better book had she given it some space for perspective. The story is no doubt interesting, but it could have been written better.
Haden
If you have picked this book up in hopes that it will give you insight about Iran, put it right back down. Not Without My Daughter is one woman's experience that has been treated like an ethnography of Iranian and Persian culture, and it should never be treated as such. Betty Mahmoody's account of her time in Iran is not only full of gross factual inaccuracies but also blatant racism and xenophobia that made the reading experience hard to stomach.

To put it in perspective, Mahmoody co-wrote the
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Jessica
Such a harrowing story! After years of marriage and a beautiful child together, Betty agrees to travel with her husband to Iran to visit his family. There he becomes a completely different person, and refuses to let her and their daughter leave. At one point she is literally held prisoner by her husband, and her journey out of Iran with her daughter actually turned her hair gray.

This isn't completely a catalog of how awful Iran is, though. She gives its beauties their due, and also details meet
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A'ishah Al-Tamimi
im just going to rehash what other people have said but it is true. firstly the cover is of a arab woman not persian/iranian. iranian women wear long headscarves called iranian chadors (the afghan version is different) which shows all of their face. they do not veil like saudi yemeni and gulf women do. but to americans, the picture of a women in a headscarve is just not "frightening" enough to sell to its stupid sheep audience, so they use the veil cause it looks exotic and foriegn.
secondly she
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Alicia Krauchuk Fenton
I remember meeting Betty and her daughter, Mahtob, when I was back in (I want to say High School)...does anyone else remember that meeting (my HS goodreaders?)
Anyhow...I think this was my first introduction to the middle east and what it was like to be a woman in their culture. I enjoyed the book, I was grateful for her courage, and I'm wondering where they are today.
I'll Google to find out. :-)
Sandy Batesel
For me this whole book rang untrue. I know I'm probably going to get a huge backlash for saying that but I just could not empathize with the author. There is no doubt that women are treated differently in Muslim countries and with them I do empathize. However, Ms. Mahmoody had misgivings about taking her daughter to visit Iran before she went ... misgivings to the point that she made an appointment with an attorney. Yet she took her daughter and went anyway. She handed over her passport to her h ...more
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
I'd like to give this book 2.5 stars but alas... I found the book interesting but it was sensationalistic and extremely culturally biased. The premise is horrific and I can completely understand her hatred and fear. However, nothing is black and white and just because the way women are treated is abominable doesn't mean that everything in the culture is bad and everything the people do is wrong and horrible.

The one scene that sticks out in my mind is that she spends hours every day picking tiny
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Arushi
People are divided in opinion about the veracity of the story. As for me, it does not really matter. The story is believable and could be true. The negatives pointed out could be true - Not for a whole country, only individual elements here and there. Betty herself has acknowledged in the book that 'you cannot categorize a person by nationality'(pg 415). She couldn't even have survived and escaped if all the Iran countrymen were bad. So, the rebukes on her supposed Iran bashing are actually inva ...more
Serkan
Amerika'lı bir kadının bir İran'lı ile evlenmesi ve kocasının akrabalarını ziyaret için çocuğuyla beraber İran'a getirilmesi, orada bir tutsağa dönüşmesi ve İran'daki kadınların gerçekleriyle karşılaşmasını anlatan sürükleyici ve gerçek bir hikaye.

Okudukça tüylerim diken diken oldu, baskıcı rejimlerde neler yaşanabileceğini, ve insanların neleri kabullenebildiklerini gördükçe içim ürperdi.

Şu anda İran muhtemelen bu kitapda anlatılandan çok daha farklıdır, çünkü aradan yıllar geçti. Ama yine de o
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Emmy
I read this book last night and can't stop thinking about it. I know a lot of people REALLY hate it...and it isn't friendly towards Iranians in the least (often unfairly so). But it really made me think...what would I have done...what else could Betty have done...I think there were probably faults on both sides, but I really did think it was an engrossing book.
La Petite Américaine
Jul 25, 2008 La Petite Américaine rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like page-turners
Recommended to La Petite Américaine by: Amazon.com
I read this in three days, totally couldn't put it down.

When I went to the States last year, I totally felt it my right as an American to on-demand this film and eat some chocolate chip cookies and drink some Bud Light.

God Bless America ... and FUCK YEAH! :)

In all seriousness, though, entertaining, chilling read.
Dennis
Reading this account was like watching a Lifetime Television for Women movie. (Sally Field, wasn't it?) The story is told exclusively from Betty Mahmoody's perspective and seems to skew heavily towards her particular biases. On several occasions I felt myself rolling my eyes and wishing someone would help Betty snap out of it because her storytelling frequently devolves into whininess. At the same time, it would be difficult to overestimate the fear, whether rational and justified or not, that a ...more
Rikke Andersen
This is a book that really teaches you about the differences in these two cultures. It is truely a great written book, but it gets horrible to read the more you get into it. You really pitty Betty and her daughter. Its scaring because its tells us a true story liveed by Betty and her daughter.
It is a good book, but I dont think that I could ever read it again.
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Caroline
AMAZING story, just truly amazing. If you are looking for a can't-put-it-down book, get your hands on this one pronto. Now reading the follow-up book.
Tanja Berg
I don't remember exactly when I read this, but I do remember that it was one of the first grown-up books I attempted. I am quite sure my mother read it first. It's a story about a marriage gone wrong and inter cultural clashes. This book had quite a substantial influence on my view of marriages between people from different cultures, although this was reinforced by my mother as well. Of course it can work, but I think many fail to realize how deep tradition runs in some socities. Betty paid a hi ...more
Himadri
Intriguing.. how a lady fights with everyone and escapes...there were moments when I cried while reading and felt proud of the heroine! After years of successful marriage and a baby, suddenly things change and off course they didn't go so good as thought! The story of struggle, fear, pain and a strong bond of love between mom and daughter!
Charise
I was a little put off by the way the author categorized everything Iranian as "bad" and everything American as "good."
Aishath Shama
I liked the story. It was interesting and moving. While reading the book, reading Betty’s description of the Iranian people’s lifestyle I thought to myself whether it could really be true. And then I had to remind myself it was written in 1987. More than two decades back. And whatever she has written is told in the perspective of a foreigner totally alien to the Iranian ways of life.

Yes one could say that she has been very judgmental. She has portrayed Iran, its people and probably even Muslims
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Umme Aiemun Yousuf
I think that this book is a true and utter masterpiece. Captivating and vivid. First, the book was not necessarily well written, but then, this kind of book doesn't have to be well written to get its point across.
Biased; yes, but understandably so. It was extremely emotional. NOT WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER is one of the very best books that I have ever read. My only regret is that I can't give this book more than 5 stars. Betty Mahmoody is very courageous for telling her story.
This is a story about an
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Erin
Not Without My Daughter is bad for so many reasons: excruciating plotting (what should take a paragraph takes pages to develop), poorly developed characters, and an utterly and totally unsympathetic protagonist.

The whole point of the novel is to gain the reader’s sympathy for Betty, held hostage with her daughter in Iran by her husband, and through our hoped-for-sympathy to drum up anti-Iranian sentiments. Except Betty is the least sympathetic character I’ve encountered. Which is saying somethin
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Erica
This makes me think of one of those awful Lifetime movies, there must be one.
So I've had this book since college and I started it then never finished it. I recently unearthed it and decided to give it another go. It was ok.
The story is interesting, but it leaves a weird taste in my mouth. I've read a few reviews that discuss the racism that runs throughout this book and I get a similar feeling. It became less of a story about what one woman husband did to her and their daughter, and more of wh
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Amy
Why did she go to Iran? I wanted to scream at her the whole time. Her reasons were explained too late in the book. She knew her husband was crazy. She knew her husband's cousin was a jerk. Did she know nothing about Iranian culture?

I can't believe the people who were willing to help. They give me faith in mankind. I'm even impresses by the Turks who smuggled her across the border. They could've taken the money an ran.
Sarah Ketley
I have read this book many times, every time i get angry, every time i really get involved with the character.

Every time i wonder if i would be brave enough to do what these people had to do.

The writing style is quite different to what i would normally read however because of the story and the desire to know what happens, the words just fly by.

I highly recommend this book
Javane'skitchen
I read this decades ago. The thing about this book is that its full of untruths and fabrications which have only a toe in reality and I should know because we were there at the same time. Not my favorite book as you cant help but conclude that Betty Mahmoodi had one agenda here and her American audience fell for it hook, line and sinker.
Tuba
I have read this book many years ago. I doubt that it is a real story. To me it is more likely fabricated like Midnight Express. If it was a true story, the book should not be only presented by her point of view, in other words, there should have been sections by her friends, relatives, husband, etc. to support her story. I don’t normally like the books that include racial insults. I have many Persian friends who are extremely clean (in fact you have to take off your shoes when you enter their h ...more
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Betty Mahmoody (born June 9, 1945) is an American author and public speaker best known for her book, Not Without My Daughter, which was subsequently made into a film of the same name. She is the President and co-founder of One World: For Children, an organization that promotes understanding between cultures and strives to offer security and protection to children of bi-cultural marriages.

Her book,
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More about Betty Mahmoody...
For the Love of a Child In een sluier gevangen / Uit liefde voor mijn kind Aus Liebe zu meiner Tochter: Die Fortsetzung des Weltbestsellers "Nicht ohne meine Tochter" Sold Au Nom De Tous Les Enfants

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