Christine'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
Nov 24, 2011

it was amazing

The author has done her readers of all faiths and nationalities a service by writing this memoir of her time in the Kingdon of Saudi Arabia as an ICU doctor. While her position, shielded by the royal family, afforded her great privilidge, it also allowed her to better understand her own Islamic beliefs.

One of the really interesting aspects of this story is seeing that for Ahmed, part of the trip to Saudi Arabia is a homecoming, a chance to experience a culture smiilar in religious beliefs to those with which she was raised (she's of Pakistani descent from the UK).

The memoir covers many different aspects of her life. Some are common to all women (the purchase of and dealing with the abbayah and all that entails) while others are personal to her alone (a forbidden crush, or working with men who usually weren't allowed to be alone with women--ever). While Ahmed is hard on her self for not having as much aptience as she believes she should have, her frankness brings us in touch with her world.

As she was raised in the West, she has a cosmopolitanism that affects her Islamic faith. Because she's been exposed to people and raised not to hate "the other," she has a natural curiousity to learn about others. In contrast, it was hard to read about her time there after 9/11 not as an American, but as someone who values human life. It seems like the bombing in the United States made it ok for the racist attitudes held by many of her colleagues were then "okay" to be expressed, suddenly.

What I hope for all people, is that even if raised by our parents' own prejudices, that we want our children to be free of these types of prejudices towards people we consider to be "other" from ourselves. You will be happy with Ahmed's book if you have curiousity--she educates and is a pleasure to read, all at the same time.
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message 1: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer I'm adding this to my list... sounds fascinating. Thanks for the review!

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