Em 's Reviews > In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor's Journey in the Saudi Kingdom

In the Land of Invisible Women by Qanta A. Ahmed
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's review
Jul 28, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: ebooks, non-fiction
Read from July 25 to 28, 2011

Truly an astounding journey into a foreign culture. Though a non-fiction, which I usually avoid, I was hooked to the book from page 1. Saudi Arabia has been an alien country to me. I haven't come across it much in my previous reads. I just knew that it is full of oil and rich sheikhs and there is extreme suppression of women. I was made aware of the extent of suppression of not only women, but also men, through this eye opener. I loved the people I came across in this book. Most of the Saudi people are kind and good and not at all anti-female, except for the dreaded moral police. I literally shook in my boots reading about the moral police - the mutauddin. I would dread going to this country, where non Muslims are scorned upon, females can't show an inch of their body parts, and can't move around without male relatives. I also came to know about the lovely Islam culture which was alien to me so far, in spite of having Muslim friends. I devoured about the original peace loving religion and how it was distorted through the ages. I loved reading about the courageous, intelligent Saudi ladies who managed to enjoy themselves in spite of rigid segregation and rules. But there are a few things I could not fathom. Almost every one the author came across was uber rich. I was amazed at the description of their houses and possessions. To boot, every female was described as ultra beautiful and every man as super handsome. How can it be? I mean, most of us are normal or above average at the most, with maybe one or two real beauties amidst us. Or was the skin and hair color with maybe genetic tall stature considered as beauty? I was horrified to read about the anti Jew and anti American sentiments of even the educated, otherwise gentle Arab.
I really enjoyed reading about Hajj. Hajj had been one mass religious feat which had surprised me, (only thing akin to Hajj in Hinduism is Kumbh Mela , to the best of my poor religious and spiritual knowledge, and yet this is not considered to be something which should be experienced by all Hindus)The description of Hajj was beautiful. I was almost transported to Mecca. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Islam, Saudi Arabia, or even human nature and culture for the matter.

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07/27/2011 page 230
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