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American Chick in Saudi Arabia

3.5  ·  Rating details ·  608 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
It all begins with an ad in the newspaper. When Jean Sasson, a young Southern woman, answers a call to work in the royal hospital in Saudi Arabia, what should have been a two-year stay turns into a life-changing adventure spanning over a decade. Jean is plunged into the hidden lives of the veiled women in Riyadh, where women are locked in luxurious homes and fundamentalist ...more
Paperback, 75 pages
Published March 2012 by LDA
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Jean Sasson
Mar 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Hi! This is Jean Sasson and I wanted to remind readers that this short tome, AMERICAN CHICK IN SAUDI ARABIA, is NOT the completed memoir. That is why the book has not been published in a traditional manner. This is why you are reading only a few stories of my early days in Saudi Arabia. So, please be warned that the book is not a completed book and there are not that many pages. I don't want you to be disappointed, so if you feel you do not want to bother reading a short book, then please wait f ...more
Maimoona Rahman
Apr 24, 2012 rated it did not like it
This is not a memoir. This is a woman being preachy and holier-than-thou.

American Chick in Saudi Arabia is about Jean Sasson’s experiences in Saudi Arabia as an administrative employee at a royal hospital, mostly witnessing like any outsider the lives of Saudi women behind the veil, trying to live a day like them, and imagining ways to encourage them to fight for their rights. She introduces three women to us: a Bedouin, who is happy; an educated woman who is forced to veil her face and deliver
You’ve imagined it of course—wearing a black abāya, the robe that covers a person from head to foot with a cloth screen where one’s eyes are. And you’ve thought about black in all that Mideast heat. It almost seems, doesn't it, that the men are afraid of women, that they have to tie them up so and put every obstruction in their way? After all, [some sarcasm here] what mightn’t these pesky women get up to if they weren’t thoroughly hampered? It would be laughable if it weren't so humiliating and ...more
May 21, 2012 rated it 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 i ...more
May 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, 2012, netgalley
First installment.

My initial reaction to this 80 page, first installment of Jean Sasson's memoir is, why only 80 pages? Why has this been issued as just a sample? Personally, although I did enjoy this, I found it a bit frustrating that it was only part of a more complete book.

Jean became famous as the author of the rather shocking book, Princess. This was an insight into the hidden lives of women in Saudi Arabia, particularly the Princess known as Princess Sultana.
The first part of her recent me
Deni Aria
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Book Review

It's the first journey of Jean Sasson in Middle East country, Saudi Arabia that made her bring the unstoppable questions to the world in forms of books she writes on how the Middle East women's life is over-controlled by Male kingdom and the culture and sadly sometime combined with the religious misinterpretation.

Over 30 years living in Saudi Arabia she has been keeping her hope to see the change the women life living in Arab Country and she sadly only found small changes and till now
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
How could I not read this snippet of a book? The author is from Troy, Alabama, not far from my mother's family farm between Clio and Louisville, AL.! Heard from a 1st cousin that another 1st cousin is an acquaintance of the author...

Curiosity about the author led me to read this title and it answered my primary question - How did she come to be in Saudi Arabia. (I'd read her 3 "princess" books years ago.)

Sasson traveled very far from her small town home and had adventures undreamable earlier in
Rachel Cotterill
This is a very short book which tells of the author's experiences in Saudi Arabia in the late 70s and early 80s. Part personal travelogue, part feminist manifesto, Sasson tells of her interactions with Saudi women and her naive attempts to persuade them that Western freedoms are worth fighting for. Of particular interest to me were the attitudes of these Saudi women, most of whom seemed to feel that she was the unfortunate one, as she must work for a living and has no-one to take care of her. As ...more
May 12, 2012 rated it liked it
After reading Jean Sasson's earlier books it was good to hear her personal story. Her preconceived notions were startling to me. To Western women a woman's life in the Middle East is very different. I would still think that there would be women who would find comfort in the structure of that society. I would also not assume that all men there would be abusers. Jean Sasson did not seem very open minded to what this new world might offer her. Rather she seems to come to it trying at once to fix it ...more
Apr 12, 2012 rated it liked it
It's plain why Sasson used this title. Intelligent, well educated, carefree woman decides to travel alone to Saudi Arabia and work in hospital administration. While there she discovers the complete oppression of women and, naive chick that she is, thinks she can wake the women up to their situation and convince them to organize so that they can recover their rights. This was in 1979. 33 years later we see just how effective her pecking around was. This is sort of an introduction to all the books ...more
Kamal Kashyap
Jun 16, 2013 rated it liked it
This book is all about Jean Sasson's experience in Saudi Arabia. How she reach there & than the series of event that she encountered there. Looking at others life from there point of view or living there life is always a king of fantasy when ever we entered in to a foreign land ( especially if there custom & tradition is entirely different from ours), that's the same case with jean sasson. And her discussion with Saudi women & there different interpretation of freedom & both tryi ...more
Jun 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Jean Sasson puts her whole heart into telling the stories of women whom she feels are oppressed, even when the women don't understand that they are oppressed. Sasson makes many assumptions about the people that she meets, but nevertheless, the reader can't help but be entertained. I was fascinated by her adventures.
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love all of Jean's books but this gave a bit more insight into how she came about being in the Middle East and the friendships she made. I would recommend this book to fans of her other books but bear in mind that its rather short as it is only the first installment. I can't wait to read the second installment!!
Tammy Reyes
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
This is just the first volume in a series of memoirs to be published. I got the ebook from Barnes & Noble but it will be available at amazon in a few weeks. This gal has spent the past 30 years traveling the world and meeting people during the most tempestuous times in their country's history. Looking forward to the next release.
Muhammad Syed
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A very good read for anyone visiting KSA for the first time especially the Non Muslims. Indeed the Saudi men are the most cunning and hypocrite. They have mixed the Islamic teaching and culture and imposed rules and laws that suit their freedom and suppress the women and Non Muslims.

The author has ample experience of the Saudi way of life and has portrayed the society immaculately.

May 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Interesting look at what it is like to be a woman in Saudi Arabia. Just wearing a veil in, awkward, no identity, etc. When she wore a veil to experience this for herself, her fiance tied a colored string to her shoes so he could identify her in a crowd. I can't imagine living like that. Some of the women, not having known anything different, see it as protection.
May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-books, read-2014
A look into the world of Saudi Arabia from the view point of an American Woman who travelled there to work in a hospital, opulent enough to be a palace of a prince. She learns, by covering up completely how oppressed the women of SA are and tries to change their viewpoint with little success. Only downside is the book is way too short.
Jun 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
The story explores the lives of women living beneath the veil in Saudi Arabia. It examines the how and why about the veil and the long existing customs of women’s rights,especially in regards to husbands and their rights within a marriage.
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
What a great read! This is a true story, and the author's life has been exciting beyond words. This is a quick read (just 76 page), and well worth the ride. I look forward to reading her other books!
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very unique insight into the Saudi Arabian culture from a Western woman's perspective; while a lot has changed since her first observations in the 70's, most things in this book help to answer what Saudi Arabia is like today. Highly recommend!
May 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed this book a great deal. This book was very informative on the Saudi etc culture. I learned things I never knew and enjoy learning from the books I read. I look forward to reading more of Jean Sasson's books!
May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I was surprised to read so much detail in such a short book, but I enjoyed it cover to cover. I actually did want to learn more about the Saudi culture, even from a male point of view, but will probably find other books to read for that. I'm sure Ms. Sasson's other books will be interesting, too.
Mar 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs, culture
A collection of essays on Jean Sasson's experiences with Saudi women in the late 1970's, concerning women's freedoms (or lack thereof) during her prolonged stay in Saudi Arabia.
May 10, 2012 rated it liked it
This book grabbed my attention, I feel like I need to read the others though to be able to recommend it.
Stasi Ellis
May 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Good book, but finished unexpectedly...thought it would be much longer than it was.
Dawn Briscoe
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
I had a hard time rating this because it was such a short bit. I do have to say I am adding the other books she wrote to my "to read" list because I did like her writing.
May 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Always enjoy a Jean Sasson book on Saudi
Krystine Ellison
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. I've three of her other books and I absolutely love her and the cause of women's rights in Saudi Arabia.
Diane Nagatomo
Feb 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Interesting autobiography of an American woman who went to Saudi Arabia in 1978 to work in a hospital with the intention of staying only 2 years.
May 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
I've always liked Jean Sasson's books, though sometimes they do seem a little exaggerated. This book is a personal account of her time in Saudi Arabia. For once, there was no American posturing of how great the US is and how the rest of the world is mere shit, that usually is the case with such books. Full marks for avoiding that trap. The descriptions of her experiences are fun and the plight of some of the women described seems pretty realistic considering the human rights statistics and repor ...more
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Free Ebook: American Chick in Saudi Arabia 3 71 Jun 07, 2013 08:16AM  
Saudi women's lives 2 12 Mar 04, 2013 06:43PM  
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Jean Sasson was born in a small town in Alabama. An avid reader from an early age, she had read all the books in her school library by the time she was 15 years old. She also began her book collection at age 15. When given the chance to travel, Sasson accepted a position at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Riyadh, and lived in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for 12 years. She ...more
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“I know from my short time in the kingdom that all Saudis worry over Saudi opinion. All Saudis I have met act more relaxed around Westerners.” 1 likes
“From my personal experiences, it is evident that so many wealthy females within the kingdom are devoted to little else but frivolity, with their thoughts focused mainly on their looks and their luxurious possessions.” 1 likes
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