Vesela.K asked:

Why do all of you say such negative thing about the book and things like "It's written this way to make readers sympathize Betty"? Why is it so ubelievable for you that it really is a real story. Everybody knows that women in Islamic world is treated way differently than other religions.

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Celina Knippling My issue is that she is very derogatory when describing her in-laws and other Persians. I get that she had the in-laws from hell, but her book goes out of its way not only to slam them for every little fault (like spilling sugar when getting some in their tea), but also describes them in pretty derogatory terms, saying they were dirty, that they left unhygenic messes all over the place, etc. If this is how they really are, maybe they have different standards in their family than she did. She sounded a bit anal-retentive in describing her efforts to maintain immaculate homes in the US at all times.

The biggest thing for me though is that she takes her in-laws foibles and applies them wholesale to EVERYONE in Iran. She writes off teachers as brainwashed drones. They probably saw a mom who was fighting to keep her kid uneducated and tied to another country's culture to her detriment. Think about it like this: if your friend was married to a woman from Iran who refused to send her child to elementary school and fought letting her child learn English or start to integrate into the US, you would probably think that woman had a screw loose or two. Also, when she extrapolates her in-laws behavior to everyone in the country, she treats people who helped her as simpletons and exceptions to the rule. Try reading other books written by people who don't have her biased/racist views, (Lipstick Jihad, Reading Lolita in Tehran), and it may open your eyes that most of the people in Iran are pretty decent folk who just have different political or religious views. Are there limitations there for women that restrict freedoms I and other women enjoy? Yes, but America also restricts behaviors or freedoms they would find just as barbaric.

Her husband was an abusive jerk, but so are a lot of white American husbands, unfortunately. The focus of the book should have been on "I married an abusive man whose family supported his behavior, but thankfully escaped to make a better life for myself and my daughter." The shame is that what her book REALLY says (intentionally or not) is "I married a man who belongs to a nation of abusers and kidnappers with disgusting unhygenic habits who hate freedom for women but I got out and am letting you all know about this evil country."

That's why people (like me) call it a racist book.
Deadcountess Because most people don't get it how it's like to be forced to live in a place that you don't like. They expect a fascinated tourist attitude from her and don't understand that it's normal to be exceedingly negative to things in your life that you didn't choose yourself.
Sandra Louden I agree with you. I was surprised by the negative comments. Unless you've walked a mile in Betty's shoes, do not judge. I invite all the naysayers to take a trip to Iran & perhaps you'll wake up and see that the entire world is not blessed with our inherent freedoms. For some who contend she was not "respectful" to her in-laws, I would counter that, according to Betty, they were not only disrespectful to her, but were openly hostile. Her daughter, who is now grown, backs her mother up on this. And, please, no one should make the argument that Mahtob was "brainwashed," when all around her women were wearing black burkas (black absorbs heat) in a land known for high temperatures. No woman willingly wears a burka unless it has been drilled in her since infancy that not to do so, is akin to sinning...stoning...and death.
Publius Ohio So, it seems Iran is a country where women are as free as they are in the USA and the author of the book is the biggest liar to ever walk this planet. Yeah, sure...
Book Worm There's a difference between criticising and generalising.
The derogatory tone in which she spoke of Iranians including members of her husbands family, criticising the fact they took 'too much sugar' with their tea ( she didn't even pay a penny for it so what right did she have to make such useless comments?!?) and the endless complaining about her life in Iran and her husband was a clear show of what a horrendous witch this Betty is.
Do you even know the other side of the story? Check 'without my daughter' online -that's the true part of it and all the Iranians mentioned in the story will testify what her husband says is true. Seethe woman and her husband and you will know that Dr. Mahmoody was right. He was a distinguished doctor and she was a parasite living off him. An American out to spoil Iran's image and get some cheap publicity too.
Saeed Babakhani I want you all to pick up a phone and call the Iranian ambassy in the place you are residing and say you are married to a man/woman from Iran and want a divorce. You will be told start to divorce him/her in your country then come to the ambassy to do it Iranian way!
Remember Betty is not converted to Islam. So practically she could give him problem for being with her without being married the Islamic way.
Audra While I was reading the book, I hadn't noticed this hatred that people are writing about here. I agree, NWMD came across to me as a woman telling her story. I appreciated the genuineness of her thoughts. Nowadays, so much of what's written is biased and overly PC with hatred for American white people (by American white people) cloaking what's written. It was refreshing to read a book that was written during a time when people spoke their true thoughts freely. Did Betty's thoughts stem from a position of a white American in the 70s/80s? Yeah. That's what she was. And she's just telling her story. I thought she seemed relatively fair with her descriptions of her in-laws. She gave credit where credit was due. She made a lot of good friends in Iran, who she deeply cared about, which indicates that she was not being prejudice. She was just being real.
German in USA Most of the people criticizing will either be Persian or from a similar country themselves (thus, find it normal!), married to a Persian man whom they think would never do such a thing, or your general politically correct armchair social justice warrior, who‘s never actually been anywhere outside the West and thus, has no idea what it is actually like in countries like Iran. As someone who has visited 30+ countries including African, Mideastern and Asian, I HAVE seen things from the inside in various places through having stayed with locals and none of what Betty Mahmoody writes actually surprises me, especially considering the time frame it took place in. That said, as a rather typical American, she IS guilty in my opinion of not having informed herself of local culture, conditions. and her rights before boarding a plane to her husband‘s country, or better yet, before marrying him altogether. No first generation „immigrant“ to the USA just magically turns „American“. People bring their culture with them, even if it may not seem so to you on the surface level.
Amy Amanda I didn't sympathize with her. She seemed like a very close minded individual. I couldn't believe she would marry a foreigner to begin with. So, I guess the book was a fail in that respect.
Virtue Your statement about treatment of women in Islamic world is overly generalizing, demeaning, and essentially wrong. This is how Islamophobic propaganda made you think about it and it has nothing to do with reality. Books and films like this one served a nasty purpose to build misunderstanding, mistrust and animosity among cultures. As long as people are deprived of solid education and fed with propaganda, they will remain uninformed and hateful. Lack of insignt equals fear of unknown equals hatred.
Hiba That last statement of yours, the “everybody knows that women in Islamic world is treated way differently than other religions” has a rather closed-minded undertone to it. You must be more mindful before you type such things, especially in the given context. Do not say “Islamic world” as if all Muslim women are being treated the exact same way. This is not only senseless but also harmful, as you are spreading false information. If only the media and such books didn’t propagate Islam in such a light would people be more understanding. Please, read more about Islam before you make such derogatory and unknowledgeable statements publicly. Also, you might want to read books with better representation of Islam, preferably by an author who actually knows the religion (any Khaled Hosseini book).

edit: I’d like to add that I once read a book called “The Serpent King” that basically had a Priest who was a pedophile, yet I did not decide to comment on a public forum that Christianity harbours child molesters more than any religion because I know that is a far call from the truth. I respect Christianity enough as a religion to understand that. Frankly, it gets rather tiring and unfair when Islam is not respected in the same sense in spite of propagated media and people who spread false information.
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