Christina's Reviews > Princess Sultana's Daughters

Princess Sultana's Daughters by Jean Sasson
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Jun 01, 08

Read in May, 2008

Much as I thought the first book, Princess, was well-written and an important read, I was disappointed in this second book about a Saudi princess. While the behavior of both of Sultana's daughters is shocking, what I really got a taste of by the time I finished the book was how poor of a mother Sultana is. I understand that having grown up with wealth and ease, she probably doesn't know any different, but it was surprising to me to hear all of her daughter's problems blamed on the male-dominated society or her mother-in-law (in the case of their older daughter) or their in-born personality traits and their Saudi culture (their younger daughter). So many of the problems described seem like they are simply the result of children growing up spoiled and without any limits and similar problems would happen in other cultures if children are allowed such latitude as they are in this home. For example, Sultana's younger daughter becomes extremely religious and starts a group of like-minded young women determined to overthrow the monarchy and restore strict religious rule. Despite Sultana's dislike of this behavior in her youngest daughter, the group continues to meet at her house over and over. It seems to me that the simplest thing to do is to forbid the meetings? If you read earlier about this same daughter's interest in animals, you can see the extent she is indulged to an extreme -- allowed her own zoo of exotic pets? Not even punished when she insults her uncle?

It also seems that for his time, Sultana's husband is quite enlighted, yet every time he disagrees with her, she describes him with a bold brush as "like all men" when sometimes his arguments make a lot of sense. Yes, he is not exactly lily-white, but he values his daughters as much as his sons and he even seems quite modern compared to Sultana's father.

It also bothers me that Sultana constantly describes herself as an advocate for women's rights and someone who is actively working for them, yet I don't see much evidence of what she is doing. In one instance in the book, their Egyptian housekeeper has to beg her over and over before she finally relents and tries to help intervene in the female circumcision of the housekeeper's granddaughter.

Perhaps I'm too harsh in my judgment of Sultana, but in this book, she seems like a selfish, spoiled princess, blaming the world for her problems instead of taking some responsibility for herself and her surroundings.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Kellie I agree completely!


message 2: by Chandni (new) - added it

Chandni Can't agree more!


Selena Agree!! Great review !!


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