American Chick in Saudi Arabia by Jean Sasson

Jean Sasson - American Chick in Saudi ArabiaReleased: April 19, 2012
Format: e-book
Publisher: Carina

Series: n/a

Source: Review copy from publisher

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 mutawas terrorize the streets. Jean meets women from all walks of life–a feisty bedouin, an educated mother, and a conservative wife of a high-ranking Saudi–all who open a window into Saudi culture. What follows is a heartfelt, inspiring memoir about Jean’s new-found conviction to fight for women’s rights in a country of limited personal freedom.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I requested a review copy of AMERICAN CHICK IN SAUDI ARABIA because I thought it sounded absolutely intriguing. I didn’t realize that Jean Sasson had written so much on Middle Eastern women and life in the Middle East but I really wanted to learn more about what it was like to be a North American blonde moving to Saudi Arabia in the 1970s.

AMERICAN CHICK IN SAUDI ARABIA is a vignette, more than anything else, into Jean Sasson’s life. It’s a novella-length recounting of some of her personal experiences after moving to the country. The author discusses how she felt about the role of women in Saudi society and how it clashed with her own views as an adventurous, liberated white American. On the whole, I enjoyed reading about her experiences, but I did find myself wondering at her naiveté at certain points in the narrative. Of course, it’s hard for me to put myself 100% in her shoes because she was living this radical experience 40 years ago, when the culture clash was newer and the world was a lot less of a global village. A woman moving today would have some different experiences, but some would remain the same, if what my Saudi friend tells me is true. 🙂

This little window into Jean Sasson’s life has gotten me intrigued and I intend to borrow her books from the library. Her writing style is very accessible and her friendly, open personality shines through on every page. I can’t wait to discover her other works.

NetGalley Knockout Extension

This book was one of the many titles on my NetGalley Knockout list.

Thanks, as always, to Christen of Goldilox and the Three Weres for hosting this challenge.

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9 responses to “American Chick in Saudi Arabia by Jean Sasson”

  1. jeansasson says :

    Thanks! I’m so glad you now want to read my other books — all are about some extraordinary women I came to know during my years of living and traveling in the Middle East. I think you will be inspired by them. I’ll be following your blog so that I will see your feedback. For now, have a happy weekend.

  2. jenn says :

    Thank you! And same to you. 🙂

  3. jeansasson says :

    Thanks! Also, just a minor correction. The experiences I write about in CHICK happened early on during my time there — 1979-1980, and I lived there until 1992, so thankfully it was not 40 years ago, but 32 years ago for the beginning stories and when I finish the stories about Saudi Arabia, those stories occurred up until 1992, or 20 years ago — a bit of difference than 40 years, thank goodness…

    ANYHOW, happy reading and hope to chat with you again later.

  4. jenn says :

    Thanks for the feedback! Glad to have the clarification.

  5. Jean Sasson says :

    You are most welcome! I enjoy your blog… Will look forward to more of your writings.

  6. Pat says :

    I really enjoyed this book, it was so touching and interesting. I especially enjoyed reading about the different ladies that Jean Sasson met while she was in the Kingdom. I look foward to reading the other books in the series.

  7. Jean Sasson says :

    Thank you, Pat… I sincerely appreciate it. Please be on the look out for book #11 that will be published in 2012: THE PRISON CIRCUS: Men, Women War & Rape

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. NetGalley Knockout — Results | I READ GOOD - October 20, 2012
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