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My Life in Doha: Between Dream and Reality

3.15  ·  Rating details ·  54 ratings  ·  21 reviews
My Life in Doha: Between Dream and Reality is Dr. Rachel Hajar's memoir of her remarkable life in the heart of Arab-Islamic culture and society. Rachel never dreamed she would marry an Arab cardiologist or live in Qatar, a place she had never heard of before. When she left her homeland in the Philippines to pursue medical training in the United States, she fell in love wit ...more
Paperback, 300 pages
Published December 29th 2010 by Strategic Book Publishing & Rights Agency, LLC
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Dianna Davidson
May 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
This is a truly boring book. It was a gift and because I have lived in Doha for four years, I was very interested to read what Rachel Hajar had to say. I really had to force myself to finish it though. The author presents her memoir in a very confusing way and doesn't even touch on how she met and married her husband until the last few chapters. She spends way too much time trying to make herself look intelligent by using specific medical terminology and explaining heart procedures in a high bro ...more
Apr 23, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: first-reads
I could not finish this book.

This is the most irritating book I have ever read. The author's forte is obviously not writing. Where can I begin?

I went into this expecting an informative memoir that would tell me about one woman's experiences living in Doha, Qatar. Instead, I got a mishmash of memoir, awkward prose, boring history lessons, and a chapter about fish that nearly drove me mad. The author never misses a chance to insert random facts about things tangentially related to her narrative, o
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is a memoir of Dr. Rachel Hajar who is a cardiologist in Qatar. She was from the Philippines and brought up as a Catholic. She later moved to the US to further her medical training and while there met her future husband. They married, and after they completed their studies they moved to her husband's home country of Qatar.

I was particularly interested in reading the chapters about the veil, the call to prayer - adhan, and the souk. I have always wondered what women thought about wearin
This book is a treasure. Dr. Rachel Hajar deftly weaves history, anthropology, etymology, literature and art into her narration, describing the social changes in Qatar as she experiences the changes of adapting to a new culture. References to Arab philosophers and poets, ancient Greek writers and medical technology are sprinkled throughout. Dr. Hajar covers topics ranging from dyes used in Persian rugs and signs to look for when purchasing fish to the misunderstanding of veiling in Western socie ...more
Oct 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
While this book has some interesting information about Doha, it is very badly written, something that surprised me considering that the author is a doctor and well educated. I couldn't finish it after starting another chapter that was a repeat of a former chapter.
Apr 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
Unfortunately I couldnt get past the first 1-2 chapters due to the writers own style which i found far to repetitve and dull. Shame because I really wanted to get to hear her story as I was living in Doha myself at the time.
I will try again sometime to reread this.
Rachel Hajar
Aug 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: general audience
My Life in Doha: Between Dream and Reality is a memoir of my life in the heart of Arab-Islamic culture in Doha, Qatar. I was born in the Philippines and brought up a Catholic Christian in a western-oriented society. I met my husband in the USA, during post-graduate medical training. My husband brought me to live in Qatar in 1978 after we finished our postgraduate medical training. At that time my knowledge of the customs and culture of Qatar and the Arab world in general was almost non-existent. ...more
The expanded title of My Life in Doha is an apt one for the style with which Rachel Hajar has chosen to write. The narrative threads its way non-chronologically through her life and career in Qatar, her earlier medical training in the US and selected childhood anecdotes. These are interspersed with interesting diversions into such topics as Arabian coffee, the veil and a comparison between the celebrational practises of the East and West. Poetic and other literary references are scattered throug ...more
Apr 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Firstly, as I won this book as part of First Reads, I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Overall I found this book quite interesting, as the author relayed her experiences in adapting to a life in Qatar, far away from her Catholic upbringing in the Phillipines. However it felt like it was lacking a lot of personal information and experiences and got a bit bogged down in going off on tangents and providing rather boring history lessons. Also the explan
May 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I was delighted to receive this book for free through the goodreads first reads program. I would have not been exposed to this book otherwise. The book was very informative, interesting, and made you feel almost as if you had actually visited Doha in Qatar. It is particulary timely and enlightening with respect to the Muslim faith. In addition, alot of background history was included about the Arabic nation and culture, which I knew very little about, and I learned much. My only criticsm would b ...more
A loving tribute to Dr. Hajar's life, marriage, medical training, and the indoctrination to the Qatari lifestyle, as she followed her husband to his homeland after receiving medical training in the United States. Full of memories and anecdotes about her family, the rituals and religious rites that accompany them.

My Life in Doha: Between Dream and Reality certainly introduces the reader to a lifestyle which is both unique and similar to their own. For her own family, it a time-recorded message t
This book should really be subtitled: A love letter to my husband and kids. The author seems to really appreciate Qatar mainly because it's the home of her family. I really appreciated her descriptions of her first impressions of various aspects of life in Doha - and her vivid descriptions of the sights, sounds, and smells. But, I felt there was quite a lot missing. She gave many personal details, but didn't really give the big picture of what it felt like to transition from one life to another. ...more
Jan 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
So far I am half way reading this book, and I find it extremely interesting, on some parts it has made me laugh, some other has taught me lessons like for example, on way not to drink alcohol, I personally already don't, and when I read in the book one of their teachings in relation to alcohol, I like it now I am not shy anymore when people asks if I drink and I answer that I don't, to the contrary, I now proudly say that is my choice of living and I only drink when i feel like it and not becaus ...more
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I won my copy of this book through GoodReads First Reads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review, so here goes...

Everybody who can read, should read this book at least once. It is a fantastically written, well researched and honest contrast and comparison of life in the Islamic Arabic Gulf, to that of the Christian West. But it is also the memoirs of a remarkable woman, her love story and interesting life. I love the fact that the author has included the history and delved into the meanings o
Lindsey Wintch
Feb 25, 2013 rated it liked it
For some reason it took me forever to read this book. Maybe if I read it before we came I would have found it more interesting. Or, after we left, more nostalgic of our time here. At any rate, I learned much about the culture of Doha, which has not changed much in decades. The finding of 'liquid gold' aka: petroleum, has changed the face of Doha dramatically, but the culture is deeply rooted and I respect that. She is an intelligent woman and I liked how she embraced her new home and life in Doh ...more
Jenny T.
Apr 23, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a free book from the Goodreads First Reads giveaways.
This was a heartfelt and well-written memoir written by a female cardiologist about adapting to life in Qatar. The different chapters reflected different topics - wearing a veil, driving, prayers, etc. I learned a lot through this "window-view" about living in an Arab nation and the Muslim religion. (Editing preference- I would have liked some of her background information that was shared towards the end of the book to be given earlie
Vincent Anton
Apr 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
The book was quite interesting; I really wanted to see how the author was going to describe her life in Qatar. It did not disappoint, there was so much to learn about that country and the book touched a few good topics in detail. The later chapters were not to involved in the country, but the human relationships that involved motherhood and working as a doctor.
Lori Tatar
Apr 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
Told in the voice of a teacher to a student or a parent to a child, My Life in Doha: Between Dream and Reality, is interesting and presents informative perspectives. The book may be a great tool in helping those from separate cultures understand one another. This might be particularly useful for younger readers who need an introduction to Arab values, customs and points of view.
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: middle-east
Not terribly well written. Jumps around a lot. Still well worth reading to gain insights into the local life.
Mar 23, 2011 added it
Clicked wrong link-- this was suppsed to be "TO Read"
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