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Not Without My Daughter

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  12,959 ratings  ·  799 reviews
'You are here for the rest of your life. Do you understand? You are not leaving Iran. You are here until you die.'

Betty Mahmoody and her husband, Dr Sayyed Bozorg Mahmoody ('Moody'), came to Iran from the USA to meet Moody's family. With them was their four-year-old daughter, Mahtob. Appalled by the squalor of their living conditions, horrified by what she saw of a country
Paperback, 528 pages
Published July 5th 2004 by Transworld Publishers Ltd (first published 1982)
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Community Reviews

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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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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. :-)
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
Recommends it for: People who like page-turners
Recommended to La Petite Américaine by:
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.
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
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
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
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. It´s scaring because it´s tells us a true story liveed by Betty and her daughter.
It is a good book, but I don´t think that I could ever read it again.
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!
I was a little put off by the way the author categorized everything Iranian as "bad" and everything American as "good."
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
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
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
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.
Ainani Yahya
a subjective opinion about a country and its ppl based on one case!what a pitty...!
Badriya  Bintuwaih

Novel : Not without my daughter
Writer: Betty Mahmoody

This novel is a true story of an American Woman named Betty who married an Iranian Man named Moody, they have a daughter together and her name is Mahtob.

The story started in the 1970's and ended in the 1980's... Betty talks about how she met her husband and how she was forced to go to Iran by telling her that the vacation will last Two Whole Weeks, but unfortunately these two weeks turned to be two whole years of her life. Where she had to le
I read this while, ironically, flying to the Middle East from America. Fortunately I was flying to Israel, an oasis of sanity and peace in the midst of countries whose people are under the thumb of, or are, oppressive at best and murderers all too often.

So Betty Mamoody, an American from Michigan, marries an Iranian who is working as a doctor in the U.S. after receiving his education here. He seems like a nice guy until circumstances converge to make him depressed and unemployed. Then the Shah g
Oct 09, 2009 Rachael rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Rachael by: Book Group
The explicit message of Mahmoody's book is a warning to families who intermarry with Middle Eastern cultures, that their stability and happiness isn't secure. The pull of their political and cultural heritage is too great to be ignored entirely. It's a pretty alarming story, terrifying and gripping at the same time. My reaction was one of "look, don't look" at the horrors of her domestic imprisonment.

The implicit messages were the most troubling to me - that people like Moody can't change, that
Najmi Fatma
when i started reading this found curiosity in my heart as well as in my head, intrested in the storyline cause its based on a muslim country and perhaps this was the another reason which was inhancing my interest in it..if i think only about betty mahmoody who was been a slave by her husband in the type of country she never visited before and she did everything to escape to reach her own home with her loving daughter where she thought living for a freely life as if she wanted to live in her own ...more
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The Movie 2 5 Dec 18, 2014 11:07AM  
What's The Name o...: SOLVED. Adult biography - about woman imprisioned in islamic country by her husband 4 15 Dec 09, 2014 05:02PM  
Issues 4 81 Jul 17, 2013 10:20AM  
About the story 5 70 Jul 16, 2013 05:02AM  
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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,
More about Betty Mahmoody...
For the Love of a Child In een sluier gevangen / Uit liefde voor mijn kind Sold Au Nom De Tous Les Enfants Reader's Digest Condensed Books, 1988 #1, Volume #175

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