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Memoirs of a Woman Doctor

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  3,051 ratings  ·  522 reviews
Rebelling against the constraints of family and society, a young Egyptian woman decides to study medicine, becoming the only woman in a class of men. Her encounters with the other students--as well as the male and female corpses in the autopsy room--intensify her dissatisfaction with and her search for identity. She realizes men are not gods as her mother had taught her, t ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published January 1st 2001 by City Lights Publishers (first published 1958)
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Average rating 3.42  · 
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 ·  3,051 ratings  ·  522 reviews

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Amal Bedhyefi
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I started reading this book on the bus the other day thinking that I will be reading only a couple of pages.
Having arrived at my destination thirty minutes later , I found myself incapable of putting it down . So I sat at a nearby coffeeshop to finish it .
Thats how gripping and captivating the story is. ( and it's a short read hihi)
This story is about the journey of a Female Doctor in a male-dominated society ( Egypt in 1956) who is desperately trying to find her purpose in life while disassoci
Dec 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
At first, I thought this was an actual memoir. But pretty soon I realised this is just a short story of random ranting. A novella length story, Memoirs of a Woman Doctor is written in the first person and the narrator is a woman who takes us on her journey through life as a young girl to becoming a doctor and then falling in love with a good man after a failed marriage.

I thought a book about the first female doctor in Egypt would be interesting. There are many themes the author might have explor
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
impressive account of a woman’s quest for freedom
Leanne (Booksandbabble)
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
From a young age the narrator (I believe she is unnamed, but my memory is terrible), has always felt restricted due to her sex. Growing up she was acutely aware of the difference between her and her brother, with her brother allowed more freedom and self expression.
In a moment of defiance mixed with frustration she cuts her hair and is duly rewarded with half a dozen slaps from her mother.
A few years pass and our narrator has worked hard to carve herself a place in the medical profession. Terr
Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
I ordered a stack of Nawal's books because I have never read anything written by an Egyptian woman and I am also a student of Egyptian Arabic, though I have known Egyptian people since 1980.

I did not know what to expect so went in with an open mind and was pleasantly surprized at how much of a feminist she is. I heard she was rebellious and did not believe in arranged marriages, but she is so feminist that it could have been written by someone here in the States and I would not have known.

This b
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reviews
First published in Nawal El Saadawi’s native Egypt in 1960, Memoirs of a Woman Doctor is a fictionalised account of growing up female in a restrictive culture where women are second-class citizens and often denied a chance of an education.

In this first-person story, our narrator defies tradition — and her family’s claustrophobic expectations that she’ll marry and produce children — to go to medical school. Here, in the autopsy room, she dissects a male body — her first encounter with a naked man
R.K. Cowles
May 09, 2020 rated it liked it
3 1/4 stars
Apr 21, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mine-own
This is a hectiv review of the book and not of the writer because I still hope that Nawal Al-Saadawi's fame and reputation as the rockstar feminist of the arab world is not owed to the same writing as in this book, cause boy this was a dull one. The story is flat and shallow and so full of clichés. It reminded me of hundreds of stories you can read in arab magazines, a sort of cheap literature with a redundant style and a supplicant fiminine tone. The story has no soul, I wasn't moved, I wad rat ...more
Santh memories
Nov 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world_fiction
This novel was written in 1980s, by a woman who already be a woman doctor in Cairo. Thus it was such a controversial one at that time.
Tells about a young girl who hates herself, her changing body into an older one – an adult. She hates the discrimination made between a girl and a boy, and later on between a man and a woman, even in numerous little things. She fights against the public thought that man is a god, man is higher than woman, a boss, a king, a conqueror – the general society itself.
Ustina Kamal
One of the reasons I have chosen this book is that it is circulated around the true incidents happened to Women of Egypt. I began to be accustomed to the rebellious writing of Nawal El-Saadawi. Although her writing sometimes hurts, but I praise her courage and boldness, as many Egyptian women fail to express their experience explicitly.
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arabic-books
I have mixed feelings about this book. But i can say it is interesting and defenitely worth reading. The journey of the doctor from her childhood and her fight with her family, men, women, society and even herself and how it shaped her as a person over the years. It was well built and it had a clear story. I dont agree with the author in some points tho.
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, fiction
A very concise feminist romance.
It is about first of all falling in love with yourself then finding a partner to share your life with. The way she is brought up as a girl is all too familiar for most of us, and so are some of the experiences with men. Don't expect flowers and rainbows...the language is precise and doesn't dwell much on flowery sentiment.
May 29, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, arab-world, feminism
Quite powerful in places, but somewhat lacking in subtlety.
Murad Daoud
First chapter was absolutely enjoyable but down the line it became meh.
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book, although some parts were a little too extreme for me, I found them raw, real and based on experience. I love the way it came across, I could relate in the true feelings in many ways and when I couldn’t, the thoughts were explained well. I love that it showed vulnerabilities of the mind, heart and body and everything people think but don’t write about. I would recommend this book, I found a certain intimacy in it.
Angie Fehl
Mar 07, 2016 rated it liked it
I feel a little silly now admitting that when I first picked up this book I mistook it for an actual memoir, having missed the part where it says "a novel" right on the front cover. *Facepalm* I also had the initial thought, "Man, this seems pretty short for a memoir!" (the whole thing is only 101 pages) but I thought maybe it was just a quick look back at a few moments within a few years time. Nope, it's actually a quick little novella read about an Egyptian female doctor just out of medical sc ...more
Aug 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've learned a lot, and I felt related to her emotions and fears.
I lately been changing my idea of love, I thought it wasn't as beautiful and pure as people say but I don't know i feel a bit different now just new thoughts about it, & if I'm going ever to feel it! It really excited me hehh. Overall her book مذكرات طبيبة is absolutely astonishing and full of feelings and experiences and made me look to "my life" in a new light and new aspects. So I'm really thankful to Nawal and her time in writ
Dec 05, 2013 rated it liked it
I appreciated the simplicity and honesty of the writing. I anticipated more material about the actual work of being a doctor from a woman's perspective, which is why I picked this up. This is about a woman's struggle for self-reliance and intellectual freedom in Egypt, the medical material is very sparse. The introduction explains that this is the censored, edited version, since the original draft was lost, and it is a first novel by a very young author. So yes, it is a bit self-righteous and un ...more
English translation available:
Memoirs of a Woman Doctor
by Nawal El Saadawi (Author)

A girl grows up hating herself because she is a girl, but does well in school and becomes a physician to prove herself to others and herself. She learns about herself as she passes through school, marriage, and life in general. The Egyptian author Nawal Saadawi is a controversially outspoken advocate for women and actually is a physician.
Aug 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those who enjoy feminist philosophy
Recommended to L.D. by: My mother
This book felt more like a personal manifesto than a story. I was reminded a lot of Ayn Rand's type of forceful and self righteous writing. I did enjoy the progress of self discovery that the nameless protagonist went through. It was a quick read and I would recommend it for anyone who wants a subject to ponder long after they finish reading. This is the type of book that makes me want to self examine myself and write it all down. ...more
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this one, but I ended up really enjoying it. It is poignant and written with such simple honesty without being harsh or overbearing or angry the way many other books with a woman fighting against the sexist views she is surrounded by in all areas of her life can often be. It was not whiny. It was refreshing. Her blatant honesty about what she thinks, feels and doubts make her someone I can understand. Someone that can be related to. ...more
Aug 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice little book written by a woman physician from Egypt. It was published many years ago but edited because of its feminist themes. Sadly, the author lost the original manuscript and there is no complete version. This is a short novella about the conflicts and challenges of growing up as a smart woman in Egypt who doesn't fit the expectations of her family. I would have liked to read the full book. ...more
Doron Yam
A life story of an egiptian woman who turned against the culture and society and family and did what her hear guided her to do.
A story of a feminist in a country that didnt recognized women until recently.
It is also about the price she paid in her personal life in order to achieve her life goals.
Interesting to read...
I'd really like to give this 2.5 stars. I did like it better than God Dies by the Nile- the anger and purpose are more focused and effective. But it still has that same fragmented, over emotional style that just grates on my nerves. Here's my full review: ...more
May 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Bitter, bitter, bitter within excuse. In societies like these being a woman is hard, being different is exhausting, being both is quite honestly... mockery. The problem is in our refusal to submit,we let people push us too far. We become the exact opposite of what is expected of us, but we still fail to become our 'true selves'. You just can't win. A daunting read to say the least. ...more
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Had to read this for a college course which for me usually means I don't like them but his one I loved! I really liked her determination and drive to change what was set in stone. The way she writes is very good too; she makes it nice and easy, even pleasurable to read her story. ...more
Ester Elbert
Great writing but I feel that the book is too short, it doesnt give you a comprehnsive idea of what her life is nor how is the life of a female doctor in Egypt. The book is more a collection of thought than a memoir
Nov 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very quick read and worth the time. Written in 1957 by a young woman who was pushing the at the constraints of being female in a powerful masculine world. Although it reflects the youthfulness of the writer it certainly had it's controversy as a text and it definitely hit a nerve, and still does! ...more
Emma Meadows
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Such a well written novel about a female's journey and fight through life. ...more
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نوال السعداوي 1 13 Apr 21, 2014 09:04AM  
مذكرات طبيبة 1 9 Mar 18, 2014 07:43AM  

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Nawal El Saadawi (Arabic: نوال السعداوي) was born in 1931, in a small village outside Cairo. Unusually, she and her brothers and sisters were educated together, and she graduated from the University of Cairo Medical School in 1955, specializing in psychiatry. For two years, she practiced as a medical doctor, both at the university and in her native Tahla.

From 1963 until 1972, Saadawi worked as Dir

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Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
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