- Paperback: 312 pages
- Publisher: Laila Radwan El-Sissi; 1 edition (November 15, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780990335412
- ISBN-13: 978-0990335412
- ASIN: 0990335410
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 44 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,624,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Out From The Shadow of Men Paperback – November 15, 2014
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About the Author
Laila El-Sissi was born in Alexandria Egypt. Moved to Canada 1972. Now resides in California with her family since 1982. Laila studied French Literature. She is a Memoirist, women activist, novice poet, author of “Out from the Shadow of Men”, and a regular public speaker @the Commonwealth, the Golden Gate breakfast Club, and public libraries as well as book stores. Laila is also an interior designer, a painter and a Tennis player. She enjoys reading when she has time. Her favorite author is Youssef Ziedan and her favorite book is “Azazeel”.
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From my western viewpoint, colored by the Christian customs and values of my childhood, the author immersed me in the complicated dance between the author, Laila El-Sissi, her rebellious and liberal older sister, and their loving, long suffering mother. Calling the shots for the family is her ultra-strict Muslim father. His whole life seems to be focused on blocking his daughters from having fun. He goes strictly by old cultural customs such as a completely male-dominated household and ancient tribal traditions like arranged marriages for daughters with older men, in which the father has the only say. Laila is coming of age and restless to have simple liberties, to get out of the house, go to the beach for a carefree time with her mom and sister, and, importantly, fulfill a romantic love story of her own.
Shocking to me was just how old and determined the arranged husband could be, how young the daughters were married off (arranged in private meetings that doesn’t include the victim-bride), and how Laila’s younger brothers (and her father) could order the daughters and mother around, where the tradition is to just let male cruelty happen and all the servants look the other way. Despite a few affectionate scenes between sisters, a bit saccharine and, those parts perhaps, more for a woman’s taste, Laila’s story is a real eye-opener and needs to be enjoyed and understood by men, too.
I'm a slow reader, but I couldn't wait to continue on the next night. It felt true-to-life for this upper middle-class family in Alexandria, Egypt, and brimming with suspense, bitter conflict, retribution, unending love, and hope. If you read this far, you need to read this great (and important) story for yourself.
Laila and her sister, two well-educated young ladies, rebelled against the normal traditions. They started by questioning male superiority over women, and ended by fleeing their beloved Alexandria to escape an arranged marriage by their arrogant, and stubborn father.
Laila's story relates to lot of Middle Eastern females nowadays as there is limited freedom for girls in some part of the Middle East..
Far from the struggle and distrust in the biography, I was touched by the strong relationship, the love, trust and care bond between the two sisters... I admired the courage of the older sister who didn't hesitate to protect her younger sister. She wanted a better life for the both of them.
It's a very inspiring novel for young ladies- worth reading.
Read it in just a few days, taking it everywhere with me. It's a very strong emotional and intimate story, describing a family life in a strange world and in relatively recent past. I admire how the author lets the reader to take a close look inside the islamic family life. Even though the reader is at times on the verge of tears the author doesn't seem to be cursing the protagonist's fate, judging from a contemporary perspective. Instead she takes you trough the story, silently telling you to just follow and observe right till the end.