After answering a newspaper ad, Jean Sasson moved to Saudi Arabia in 1978. She was supposed to spend two years there, working in the Royal Hospital, but wound up staying there (and elsewhere in the Middle East) for many years afterwards. In this short, 80-page book, she decides to switch it up a little and begin telling her story, including her first impressions of the country, spending a day “under the veil” dressed as a traditional Saudi woman, and introducing her readers to several interesting women — all of whom are at a different place in their lives.
Sasson is the author of many books on women in the Middle East, including the best-selling Princess trilogy (Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia, Princess Sultana’s Daughters, and Princess Sultana’s Circle) and Growing Up Bin Ladin: Osama’s Wife and Son Take Us Inside Their Secret World.
As someone who is fascinated by other cultures, I found American Chick in Saudi Arabia hard to put down. At only 30,000 words, I finished it in a matter of hours, and then found myself purchasing the first book in the Princess series, because I just had to know more. I cannot wait until the second segment of Sasson’s memoir comes out, because I’m curious to know more about her life in the Middle East. One of the many things that amazed me in this book is the fact that many women in Saudi Arabia (at least back then) seemed to be content with their place in life, or were too afraid to say anything to the contrary.
(Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. For further information, please check out my Disclosure Policy.)