Friday, October 10, 2014

Princess: More Tears to Cry by Jean Sasson

I should make it clear from the start that I haven't read the previous books in this series (I found it out it was a series when I started reading). So, I'm pretty much reacting to the book as a first time reader.

Princess: More Tears to Cry is a look into the life of women in Saudi Arabia. It doesn't just focus on the sultana (or 'Princess' of this novel), but expands to include the various women that she's met/helped over the years and their stories. There was much less family drama than I expected (there's a story about her brother Ali in here, but from the introduction, I expected a lot more backstabbing). Instead, it focuses more on the lives of other women, and how it has changed since the first books were written.

To me, it seems like Saudi women have made great strides. More of them are being educated, more are being helped, and a few are even doctors now. It's a truly encouraging thing.

On the other hand, rampant sexism and discrimination against women still exist. It's still way too easy to divorce a women, and the penalties for crimes against them is laughable. There are so many sad stories in there, and not all of them have a happy ending. Reading it, you may come close to tears.

Bear in mind, the book does stress that this discrimination is the fault of the culture, not religion. Or rather, the book draws a distinction between religion and men of religion. Personally, I didn't feel like this book was wholeheartedly condemning a religion, just an unjust culture.

I do not think it's appropriate to say that I enjoyed such a heart-rending book, so I will merely say that it was eye-opening.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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