Jaylia3's Reviews > American Chick in Saudi Arabia

American Chick in Saudi Arabia by Jean Sasson
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May 21, 2012

really liked it

When Jean Sasson moved to Saudi Arabia in her twenties she wasn’t a journalist or a Middle Eastern scholar, but she’s now the author of at least nine well received books on the people, especially the women, of that vital, sometimes volatile, always interesting region. This short revealing book is her own story of what her impressions were and what her life was like when she relocated across the world to work in a Saudi hospital. The conservative life style wasn’t as uncomfortable for Sasson as it might have been because she didn’t drink alcohol anyway and she was from a Southern town where modest dress was the norm, but some of the ways she saw women treated shocked her.

In one instance, Sasson was out shopping with a woman who was mostly draped in the required tent-like outerwear, except that her forearms were uncovered. For that offense the woman was attacked and sprayed with red paint by a religious zealot while Sasson watched in horror and no one came to their aid. After other similarly upsetting instances Sasson vowed, somewhat naively at that point maybe, to encourage Saudi women change their lives. She was able to meet and get to know a variety of Saudi women, from Bedouins to princesses, but to her initial surprise some of those women felt sorry for her, almost thirty and with no husband for protection.

The book offers an intriguing glimpse into the lives of these women, whose ways of thinking are so different from most people living in the West. American Chick in Saudi Arabia is the first installment of Sasson’s memoirs and so is just about those early years. I’m eager to read the others as they come out. It will be fascinating to see how Sasson went from being an inexperienced, but determined and idealistic young woman working as a medical administrator, to being the celebrated author she is today.
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Jean Sasson Thanks, Jalyia! So glad you enjoyed the installment. I'm working away on the rest and I will admit that it is much tougher to write about myself that it was to tell the stories of other people. I really don't know why but I'm slugging away! Thanks, again... Jean

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