- Paperback: 286 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (June 24, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780143113478
- ISBN-13: 978-0143113478
- ASIN: 014311347X
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 125 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #246,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Girls of Riyadh Paperback – June 24, 2008
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a"San Francisco Chronicle"
The daring debut by a young Saudi Arabian woman imagine Sex and the City, if the city in question were Riyadh
[The] work of a brave, intelligent young woman. One of those rare books with the power to shake up an entrenched society.
"Los Angeles Times" Engaging, enlightening, enjoyable.
"The Seattle Times" A taboo-breaking novel.
"The Washington Post"
A rare glimpse into ordinary life for young women in Saudi Arabia.
"San Francisco Chronicle"
The daring debut by a young Saudi Arabian woman? ?imagine Sex and the City, if the city in question were Riyadh?
? [The] work of a brave, intelligent young woman. One of those rare books with the power to shake up an entrenched society.?
?"Los Angeles Times" ?Engaging, enlightening, enjoyable.?
?"The Seattle Times" ?A taboo-breaking novel.?
?"The Washington Post"
? A rare glimpse into ordinary life for young women in Saudi Arabia.?
?"San Francisco Chronicle"
About the Author
Rajaa Alsanea is the author of the novel Girls of Riyadh, which was long-listed for the International Dublin Literary Award. She grew up in Saudi Arabia as one of six siblings in a family of doctors and dentists. Alsanea received her bachelor’s degree in endodontics from King Saud University in 2005.
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A book I couldn’t help but continuously read until every last word had been enjoyed. The people, the stories, the new understanding that comes from a new book is delightful throughout, ‘Girls of Riyadh.’
Set in both Saudi Arabia and the United States, at present day, so many intriguing and circling stories which just begin to touch the surface of what life may be like for a non-native English speaker, in America and the girls who grow up in Saudi Arabia.
With a soap opera air and young adult flair, Rajaa Alsanae keeps you interested and once you become comfortable in one story, she brings your attention back again with another drama. I had not heard of her e-mails and the controversy surrounding the gossip of Riyadh, but I am so glad I opened this book to find out. I am a big fan of journal keeping and journal reading. This book opened each chapter with what seemed like a confessional and I quite enjoyed that.
I have also found a new fondness for the poetry of Nizar Qabbani. Worthy of several mentions and footnotes, I grew to enjoy the author’s references sometimes more than the drama of Riyadh.
With this book I’ve discovered the difference of Saudi culture from other parts of the Arab world as well as the obvious notion that culture, what is expected of the individual and their families, their religion, their attire, are all separate, but also intertwined in a beautiful and unique way. Because of these interesting intersectionalities, I enjoyed this book very much.
This book was not originally published in the western world, but growing popularity in the Middle East created a hunger for the story in America. This book does an important job here in America, and that is to show how truly similar our day to day lives, love lives, school lives, and lives as women are related.
Several hypocrisy’s within Saudi culture, which affect these women profoundly and differently are expelled within these chapters. These seemingly elusive constraints and pressures, which are shown through Saudi women’s lives, certainly reflect on American women’s lives within our culture today. Certain expectations for women, for marriage, appearance, religion, and more, are echoed throughout the pages of ‘Girls of Riyadh.’
The stories and relationships in ‘Girls of Riyadh’ which tend to be seen as shallow or a bit silly and awkward, rather than momentous or serious, show us a side rarely discussed today- the women’s side. What it must be like, look like, feel like, to live in Riyadh, to be a woman in Saudi, to be a woman in Islam.
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The book is not the best example of Arabic literature, perhaps, but it is a very readable story about the mine field that young Saudis--men as well as women--must negotiate if they are to be considered part of Saudi society. None is a particular hell-raiser; all want to conform and be accepted. But life has a way of making dreams come not-quite-true, as in all cultures.
If you're looking for titillating sex scenes, don't bother looking in this book. While sex--both hetero- an homosexual--makes an appearance, it is as chaste as in a Jane Austen novel.
I do recommend the book for those who would try to understand how Saudi culture and society put limits on the acceptable and the way young Saudis try to navigate those currents while heading for their own fulfillment.
Its a very easy read, and a combo of Gossip Girl meets the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants but in Saudi Arabia to sum it up for you.