J's Reviews > Finding Nouf

Finding Nouf by Zoë Ferraris
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's review
Dec 09, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: high-school-fiction, mystery

Nouf was a young Saudi Arabian woman from a wealthy family who had it all: a loving family, a beautiful home, an adoring fiance. But when her body is found in the desert and the cause of death is drowning, the facade of a happy family begins to crumble. Did she run away or was she abducted? Why wasn't she happy? The real star of this story is Nayir, a friend of Nouf's family who is called in to search the desert when Nouf goes missing. Nayir is the epitome of a gentleman -- respectful and kind to everyone. But he's not satisfied when Nouf's body is discovered and things don't add up, including the fact that this unmarried girl was pregnant, an unpardonable sin in this repressive Muslim culture. He begins investigating on his own, and finds that Nouf's family is harboring many dark secrets. The mystery is intriguing, the ending is surprising, but the most compelling thing about this book is the way women are treated in Saudi Arabia. As an American woman who has complete freedom of movement and choice, it was enlightening to learn that women in other parts of the world are basically slaves to their culture. A woman in Saudi Arabia may not drive, may not appear in public without an approved male escort, may not show her face to a man (even in her own home), and is discouraged from holding a job. No wonder Nouf was unhappy. A fascinating book.

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