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The Greater Freedom: Life as a Middle Eastern Woman Outside the Stereotypes

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  247 ratings  ·  46 reviews
The greater freedom is to be who you actually are; to be able to live your life in the way you deem best, free from any sort of restriction to do that, or fear of repercussions for doing so.

Egyptian-born and London-raised, Alya Mooro grew up between two cultures and felt a pull from both. Where could she turn for advice and inspiration when it seemed there was nobody
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Little A
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Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  247 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Home, heart and soul

An excellent book. One of the things I really liked about his book is it actually fit better as I read more of it, especially the last few chapters.

I don't agree with everything in this book, it is probably 70% to 30%. I have always considered London home more the anywhere else. I am proudly a British Muslim a lot of the issues raised and discussed in this book applies to many people like me, even though the were brought up from a female point of view. If I had just one
Amal Bedhyefi
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
Reading books has been such a huge part of my life. I have always loved reading about other people's lives. But it's only recently, especially with the rise of representation in books, that I have been trying to read more books written by and that are about people whom I can relate to, hence my excitement when I started reading this book.
The Greater Freedom: Life as a Middle Eastern Woman Outside The Stereotypes is part memoir part self-exploitation of the Egyptian-born and London-raised, Alya
I was lucky enough to pick The Greater Freedom: Life as a Middle Eastern Woman Outside the Stereotypes up an Amazon First Reads as otherwise I may not have heard of the book for a while. Admittedly, I do not tend to read my Amazon First Reads within the first month of getting them, however I was very drawn to Alya Mooro's book because the Middle East and Arab culture is a place I find myself distinctly lacking knowledge about. I understand some of the basics of the history, the foundations of ...more
Rachel León
Oct 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and Alya Mooro's perspective and writing. That said it's almost like something written for a college class--it blends research, personal narrative, and interviews from other Middle Eastern women. It's described as "part memoir, part social exploration" and I suppose that's very apt. The hybrid genre works though, it's compelling and rounded in a way that it wouldn't be without each of the pieces. Definitely worth reading.
Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

I hoped when I chose a review copy of The Greater Freedom from NetGalley that Alya Mooro's writing would be thought-provoking for me and that absolutely proved to be the case. I would happily put this book alongside We Need New Stories by Nesrine Malik and My Past Is A Foreign Country by Zeba Talkhani as timely and essential reading for everyone who is seeking new ways to understand our social history and alternative directions for the
M R B Davis
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A philosophy of life

I started reading this, found it difficult and thought I either wouldn't finish or give it 2*! I persevered and soon found it difficult to put down. It may be the thoughts, beliefs, values of a female Muslim born in Cairo but, I feel, is relevant to any gender of any faith born anywhere. We are who we are and follow the beliefs and values of the environment we are brought up with. This is what makes us all stereotypes of our background. A cultural shift shifts the
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not my usual read however I was drawn to it in a quest for greater understanding of experiences which are not necessarily my own. I found the writing a little stilted at times but overall found it compelling. I think everyone, whether female or male, member of a diaspora or (like myself) living, working, socialising in the culture and country of your birth and ancestors, will gain a greater perspective by reading it. Our similarities are closer than our differences
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
A really strong first book from this author. Alya doesn't hide away from her journalist background and plays to her strengths with lots of references to academics and books (if you want to read more on the topics she covers) as well as voices of other women. Her explanation of being "technically" Muslim and how religion and culture have separated was really interesting and I found there were bits here and there I related to as a woman. Can't wait to see what she turns her hand to next.
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I am impressed by the honesty , transparency with which each chapter tackles a taboo, addresses a preconceived embedded belief , and how this belief is unravelled and dissected with research and personal experiences ! Every human being out there regardless of race culture colour religion DNA and genes will resonate with some of the stories and will ring true to many ears out there !!! Embracing our humanity and good
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Found this to be well written and eye opening. A good read for anyone wanting to see the world from another perspective, lightly touches on a wide range of subjects with good references and information for you to go seek more detailed analysis on topics you are specifically interested in.

I liked the tone, pace and overall style and would recommend for anyone looking to broaden their knowledge.
Funke Adegunle
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic read

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and sharing thoughts from it with others.
Very thought provoking and enlightening. I would recommend reading this book.
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
To the western audience, the expectations of matriarchs in contemporary MENA society are little known about. We’ve recently been given access to BAME voices, but it is still rare that we hear experiences of Middle Easterners, particularly those living in the UK.
Thank you Alya for giving us MENA British women a voice - in a short space of time this book has already been a hot topic amongst many women in my circle of friends and with this review I hope that it reaches many beyond!

Alya speaks
Dee Howard
Oct 22, 2019 marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: Women and men who believe in equality
Recommended to Dee by: Kindle advert
Really good book about an Egyptian Muslim girl trying to work out who and what she was in today's society. Resonated with my own British culturally Christian upbringing in as much that I had a father who tried to protect me by controlling my life, followed by a teenage marriage which led to my husband then controlling my choices, which I then escaped, and am now in a happy culturally mixed religion marriage, having taken, with a pinch of salt, the criticism from both sides of our diverse family. ...more
Nureen Khadr
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been following Alya’s writing process on Instagram for a while now. I had such high expectations for the book, especially with our shared background as Egyptian women raised abroad (she in the U.K., and myself in the U.S.). She surpassed those expectations, weaving an intricate tapestry of what it means to be a Middle Eastern woman grappling with the intersections of identity. I recommend this to anyone who has confronted feelings of shame, guilt, and confusion to gain clarity over the ...more
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Through an interesting account of the author's life, I learnt about life as a "foreigner" and not belong anywhere, about Islam and what it means to be "technically Muslim", too Muslim for England, and not Muslim enough for Egypt. I really enjoyed reading this book, the considerations are very deep but the tone is kept light and the fact that the author is talking about her own life also makes it very entertaining.
Mrs. Moira McGeough
I'm glad I read this book. It was written by a woman and is heavily weighted towards a woman's perspective as you'd expect, but it did enlighten me to the similarities and differences between different Arab nations. I would be interested in a similar book written from a male perspective.
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A good enlightening read. Well written, Alya’s book was very insightful to the Middle Eastern and Arabic culture which I haven’t really explored with my reads in the past. Such an insightful modern lens and several parts where I could draw parallels to my own culture also. Would recommend!
S Clarkson
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Book

Everyone should read this enlightening book and learn from it. Alya Mooro has a great flowing style in which she describes how life in Britain/Egypt, as young British woman with a strong Egyptian culture lives and copes with the pressures surrounding her daily life.
Philip Garside
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good insight into what it looks and feels like to make a life which straddles Egyptian roots with living in cosmopolitan London. This is harder for women than men.
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Personal and telling, I found myself nodding my head in agreement with Mooro’s part memoir, part social and cultural exploration of Middle Eastern women. Highly recommend.
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing read! So relatable and so original!
Hafsa Lodi
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Snippets of my review for The National newspaper:

Dressed in an elegant black jumpsuit, Alya Mooro sits on a brown leather sofa at The Union Club in London while reading from her debut book, The Greater Freedom: Life as a Middle Eastern Woman Outside the Stereotypes. Her outfit is by Jordanian designer Nafsika Skourti – a fitting choice for the occasion, as in both her social commentary and this book, she has been vocal about her desire to support and campaign for modern, middle-ground Middle
Tahmina Begum
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Alya really did something with this book. Explores so many themes and will make you learn/unlearn a new version of you.
Alice Broster
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book. Mooro's written voice is so relatable and she covers everything from sex and relationships to representation and belonging.
Amira Hamed
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The key word most commonly used around this book is: relativity. I cannot agree more. I am myself an Egyptian-Canadian. From both, yet neither. Found myself literally nodding while reading many chapters in this book.

Alya uses such a refreshingly simple approach in translating the difficulties of understanding one's 'intersectional feminism'. 'Intersectional' referring to how unwaveringly one can stand for one's beliefs as a woman on Western homeland, yet somehow struggle to find the courage to
I couldn't help thinking that 'The Greater Freedom: Life as a Middle Eastern Woman Outside the Stereotypes' was an unusual sort of book to include in the September Amazon First Reads list. Fortunately, this month we were offered two books as this one wouldn't have been my first choice.

I found the book rather frustrating. Yes, it's fair to say that 'outside the stereotypes' should have perhaps warned me that it wasn't about absolutely typical behaviour but I did rather expect more about what the
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a first generation born Middle Eastern woman, I have never resonated with a book so much in my entire life. Every word that Alya Mooro wrote was more eloquently written than I could have ever tried to put into my own words. So grateful for my cousin that shared this book with me. Thank you Alya for writing this incredible book. I cannot wait to pass it on to more and hopefully my own children one day.
Amanda Carver
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating read

I'm a white English middle aged woman and I really enjoyed this book, I have learnt such a lot by reading this, a book everyone should read. Thank you for writing it, I feel very privileged now to be able to make my own decisions and to even be able to go out of the house on my own!!!
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We need more books like this one. We need to hear how people of all cultures and experiences form their identity and find their way through our world. Alya Mooro is one voice of the very many that we need to hear from.

As an Arab woman who grew up in both London and Cairo, Moore has continually struggled to figure out who she is (and who she isn’t) while existing between cities and cultures. Her book explores what it means to be an Arab woman, as well as how she and her contemporaries want to
Peter AvillEng
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Hi thoroughly enjoyed this book and couldn't stop reading it . I will definitely recommend it to my friends and members of my book club.
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Alya Mooro is an Egyptian born, London raised freelance journalist. Her first book The Greater Freedom: Life as a Middle Eastern Woman Outside the Stereotypes, is out September 2019 (Little a; Amazon Publishing). She holds a BA in Sociology and Psychology and a Masters in Journalism. She has been published in The Telegraph, Grazia, Refinery29, The Washington Post and more, providing unique takes ...more
“As women we are taught to place importance on another person, be that our husbands, our fathers, our mothers, or our extended circles. We are taught to be caregivers instead of giving that love to ourselves. We’re taught to hold our tongues and, in doing so, to suppress our own instincts and desires lest we offend or cease to be ‘loveable’. We’re taught to aspire to be desired, influencing everything from the way we dress to how we converse, whether we consciously realise it or not. We’re taught to view ourselves through the eyes of others instead of assessing our own sense of worth.” 0 likes
“screen. As actor Riz Ahmed said on The Jonathan Ross Show:19 ‘ Black Panther isn’t just a win for black people. Crazy Rich Asians isn’t just a win for Asians. When we stretch culture, we all have more room to be ourselves. When we see a wider range of stories, we stop seeing others as others.” 0 likes
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