Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Princess by Jean P. Sasson

book cover
A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia
by Jean P. Sasson

ISBN-13: 9780688116750
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Released: September 1, 1992

Source: Bought at a library used book sale.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Sultana is a Saudi Arabian princess, a woman born to fabulous, uncountable wealth. But she lives in a gilded cage. She has no freedom, no control over her own life, no value but as a bearer of sons.

Sultana tells of her own life, from her turbulent childhood to her arranged marriage--a happy one until her husband decided to displace her by taking a second wife--and of the lives of her sisters, her friends and her servants. They share a history of appalling everyday oppressions, like thirteen-year-old girls forced to marry men five times their age and young women killed by their own families by drowning, stoning, or isolation in a padded, windowless cell until death claims them.

By telling her story to Jean Sasson, Sultana has allowed us to see beyond the veils of this secret society, to the heart of a nation where sex, money, and power reign supreme.

My Review:
Princess is a memoir about a woman who was born a princess in Saudi Arabia and what it was like to grow up, marry, and have children as a woman in that culture. She also relates stories about non-royal or poor Saudi women as well as women who come to work as maids in the Saudi homes.

It's a very sad story in many ways, and it's hard to read how cruelly people can treat one another. The author wrote the story of the princess' life for her based on diaries and conversations. The story has a very readable style that allows the personality of the princess to come strongly through, both the good and the bad. Overall, I'd recommend this book to those interested in women's lives in Saudi Arabia. Keep in mind, though, that things have changed some since this book was written.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: A link to Amazon so you can read an excerpt using Look Inside.

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