Lady K's blog

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Book review: Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea

The book: Girls of Riyadh

The author: Rajaa Alsanea

Pages: 300

Girls of Riyadh is the Arabic version of Sex and the city but censored. It’s about four girls that are trying to survive daily in the uptight and loose in the same time city; Riyadh.
Their stories vary between breaking laws, love and defining themselves into their traditional and strict society.
I enjoyed reading the book trying to analyse each of the main characters. Michelle; an open minded half American girl. She has a hard time adapting with the Saudi traditions and hopes she can go back to the United States where she thinks she belongs. Lamees; a kind girl who works hard for her studies. Sadeem; a naive girl who trusts people and lives in her romance novels’ world. Gamrah; an old school girl who couldn’t let go of her traditions even after watching sex and the city.

I found the book interesting because it opens on the secret behaviour of Saudi woman. I admit i was a little shocked when i first read it because i never thought that Saudi girls are living such a hard life; they can’t get into some places without man, they can’t drive and many other things that show that the country has a very conservative culture.
I am glad Rajaa is so brave to write about private lives of her friends’ and hers. I found it really brilliant.
The book caused a huge scandal in the country and Saudi people didn’t accept it and accused the writer to be very open and just trying to spread bad morals into the society.
For me, the things those four girls were doing to survive is a natural reaction to all the pressure and all the restraint they have been through all their lives so i wasn’t much surprised about the events in the book. Although the things they said about the book and the writer kind of shocked me because some reviewers was talking about it like it’s an erotic book that it should be banned.

I strongly recommend ‘Girls of Riyadh’ it gives you a great opportunity to explore another culture and go through different new minds and behaviours.

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