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En saudisk kvinnan protest. Vad är priset för en kvinnas frihet? När Manal al-Sharif till slut bestämmer sig för att sätta sig bakom ratten är hon väl medveten om vilka risker hon tar. Kvinnor i Saudiarabien fängslas om de kör bil. Men tiden är kommen - snart följer en våg av kvinnor i hennes spår. Manal al-Sharif är numera en av världens främsta feministiska röster. Hennes En saudisk kvinnan protest. Vad är priset för en kvinnas frihet? När Manal al-Sharif till slut bestämmer sig för att sätta sig bakom ratten är hon väl medveten om vilka risker hon tar. Kvinnor i Saudiarabien fängslas om de kör bil. Men tiden är kommen - snart följer en våg av kvinnor i hennes spår. Manal al-Sharif är numera en av världens främsta feministiska röster. Hennes bilkörningskampanj har satt ljuset på kvinnors situation i Saudiarabien - kvinnor är tvungna att ha en närstående mans godkännande för att bland annat studera, arbeta och resa. I Modet att köra skildrar hon sin uppväxt i ett arbetarkvarter i Mecka, sin mammas kamp för att ge sina barn en utbildning och de extrema regler som tidigt begränsar flickors liv. Boken är en drabbande berättelse om en kvinnas kamp för frihet och en unik skildring inifrån ett av världens mest slutna samhällen. Manal al-Sharif är dataingenjör, författare och kvinnorättsaktivist. Hon utsågs 2011 till en av världens viktigaste tänkare av tidskriften Foreign Policy och har tilldelats Václav Havel-priset av Oslo Freedom Forum. Hon är bosatt i Australien och medverkar frekvent i bland annat CNN, BBC och New York Times. Hennes bok, som utkom i USA 2017, har översatts till ett flertal språk. "Jag hade aldrig några planer på att bli aktivist. Jag var en religiös flicka, född och uppväxt i Mecka. Jag började täcka mig med abaya och niqab innan det ens behövdes, jag ville helt enkelt efterlikna och glädja mina religiösa lärare. Och jag följde en ytterst fundamentalistisk version av islam. I åratal brukade jag smälta min brors kassettband med popmusik i ugnen, för enligt fundamentalistisk islam är musik haram, det vill säga förbjuden. Första gången jag någonsin hörde en poplåt var jag tjugo. Det var Backstreet Boys Show me the meaning of being lonely. Jag kan fortfarande minnas nästan vartenda ord." - Manal al-Sharif "Den här boken tog fem år att skriva. Många gånger var jag nära att ge upp. Men efter att min mor blev diagnostiserad med cancer och jag tillbringade de sista månaderna med henne fram till hennes död i februari 2016 förstod jag varför det hade tagit så lång tid. Jag höll fortfarande på att lära mig både min mors historia och min egen." - Manal al-Sharif


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En saudisk kvinnan protest. Vad är priset för en kvinnas frihet? När Manal al-Sharif till slut bestämmer sig för att sätta sig bakom ratten är hon väl medveten om vilka risker hon tar. Kvinnor i Saudiarabien fängslas om de kör bil. Men tiden är kommen - snart följer en våg av kvinnor i hennes spår. Manal al-Sharif är numera en av världens främsta feministiska röster. Hennes En saudisk kvinnan protest. Vad är priset för en kvinnas frihet? När Manal al-Sharif till slut bestämmer sig för att sätta sig bakom ratten är hon väl medveten om vilka risker hon tar. Kvinnor i Saudiarabien fängslas om de kör bil. Men tiden är kommen - snart följer en våg av kvinnor i hennes spår. Manal al-Sharif är numera en av världens främsta feministiska röster. Hennes bilkörningskampanj har satt ljuset på kvinnors situation i Saudiarabien - kvinnor är tvungna att ha en närstående mans godkännande för att bland annat studera, arbeta och resa. I Modet att köra skildrar hon sin uppväxt i ett arbetarkvarter i Mecka, sin mammas kamp för att ge sina barn en utbildning och de extrema regler som tidigt begränsar flickors liv. Boken är en drabbande berättelse om en kvinnas kamp för frihet och en unik skildring inifrån ett av världens mest slutna samhällen. Manal al-Sharif är dataingenjör, författare och kvinnorättsaktivist. Hon utsågs 2011 till en av världens viktigaste tänkare av tidskriften Foreign Policy och har tilldelats Václav Havel-priset av Oslo Freedom Forum. Hon är bosatt i Australien och medverkar frekvent i bland annat CNN, BBC och New York Times. Hennes bok, som utkom i USA 2017, har översatts till ett flertal språk. "Jag hade aldrig några planer på att bli aktivist. Jag var en religiös flicka, född och uppväxt i Mecka. Jag började täcka mig med abaya och niqab innan det ens behövdes, jag ville helt enkelt efterlikna och glädja mina religiösa lärare. Och jag följde en ytterst fundamentalistisk version av islam. I åratal brukade jag smälta min brors kassettband med popmusik i ugnen, för enligt fundamentalistisk islam är musik haram, det vill säga förbjuden. Första gången jag någonsin hörde en poplåt var jag tjugo. Det var Backstreet Boys Show me the meaning of being lonely. Jag kan fortfarande minnas nästan vartenda ord." - Manal al-Sharif "Den här boken tog fem år att skriva. Många gånger var jag nära att ge upp. Men efter att min mor blev diagnostiserad med cancer och jag tillbringade de sista månaderna med henne fram till hennes död i februari 2016 förstod jag varför det hade tagit så lång tid. Jag höll fortfarande på att lära mig både min mors historia och min egen." - Manal al-Sharif

30 review for Modet att köra: En saudisk kvinnas protest

  1. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    Imagine not being allowed to drive . . . This is a gripping true story told by Manal, a woman in Saudi Arabia who got arrested by the “religious police” for driving while female. There is no law that forbids women from driving, but the religious police are powerful. One evening they took her from her house, interrogated her for hours, and then threw her in jail, with feces underfoot and cockroaches in her bed. She wasn’t in jail a long time, but her story was all the more sad because she had a Imagine not being allowed to drive . . . This is a gripping true story told by Manal, a woman in Saudi Arabia who got arrested by the “religious police” for driving while female. There is no law that forbids women from driving, but the religious police are powerful. One evening they took her from her house, interrogated her for hours, and then threw her in jail, with feces underfoot and cockroaches in her bed. She wasn’t in jail a long time, but her story was all the more sad because she had a young son whose mom suddenly disappeared into the night. What shines through is her courage and perseverance to better the conditions for women in her country. People have called her the Muslim version of Rosa Parks. I know I wouldn’t have had the nerve to go up against the authorities; I would have been terrified of the consequences. The whole time I was reading, I became more and more fascinated to learn details of a culture I knew very little about. At the same time, of course, I was thoroughly appalled by the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia. I could have been reading this for an anthropology course, and I was thirsty to learn everything I could. What was weird is that because the rules for women’s behavior are so strict, I felt like I was learning about a culture from long ago. But nope, this stuff is happening today. In fact, Manal’s story could only be told because of our modern world of social media: she originally got attention for her brave act because she and her friends videotaped her driving, and the video went viral. She calls herself an “accidental activist” because she didn’t set out to stir things up so much; she had no idea that the whole world would be watching. It begs the question: Without social media, would anyone have heard her protests? For the most part I’m not a fan of social media, but here, it played a critical role in getting her important story out to the world. Manal is a good storyteller—she keeps it personal and intimate while at the same time maintaining the objective distance of a good journalist. The writing is good, the facts a-plenty. And the facts of the matter—what her life was like—are pretty horrendous. I guess because she was used to it (it was the only thing she knew), she often has sort of a matter-of-fact attitude. She was used to the oppression, the unfair rules, because that’s how she, her family, and her friends lived. The interesting thing is that Manal was very religious when she was young, adhering to one of the most radical Muslim groups. She enforced the rules, even to the point of destroying her brother’s cassette tapes and generally hassling her family when they didn’t observe the customs. The restrictions for women—having to cover their faces when going out, not being able to be around boys, for example, are many. There are also a lot of superstitions, which she chronicles well. The worst crime against women is genital mutilation, which doesn’t happen to every girl—but it happened to her when she was 8. Her description will stick in my mind forever. So how did this devout Muslim who obeyed the religious laws and customs end up becoming this activist who helped women get more freedom in Saudi Arabia? The answer is education. Although Manal’s parents were brutal in many ways, both of them kept pushing her to get more and more education—her father spent most of his day driving Manal to and from college. As her world expanded in college, so did her consciousness. Her eyes, which used to be mostly hidden by a niqab, were now wide open. She ended up working in computer science at an American-like company that had its own little town and more relaxed rules. She was allowed to drive within that area but could not drive outside it. When she did one day decide to drive outside the area, that’s when her story started to be told. I have two minor complaints. Early on, Manal devoted a little time to describing the religious history, which I found a tad boring. And at about the two-thirds mark, she goes into too many tiny details about her getting prepared to do her drive. We're talking super minor here. Neither of these things prevented me from giving this book 5 stars. Manal no longer lives in Saudi Arabia, although she still has ties there. In fact, she has a son there whom she could not take with her. She has another son, and her two sons have never been able to meet each other. She spends a lot of time in the public eye, telling her story and supporting women in Saudi Arabia. This is an eye-opener of a book—and this is one amazing woman. Highly recommended. Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy. P.S. As of July 11, 2017, this book is still available as a Read Now from NetGalley.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Angela M

    News update 9/26/17 : Saudi Women Are Now Allowed to Drive! https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/w... ********************************** I am not inclined to read memoirs as a rule, unless it is one by a remarkable individual whose story is impactful, whose journey is more than just trying to find oneself, whose story has something in it that I, not just as a woman, but as a human being should know. This is one such memoir of a truly remarkable woman who is smart and courageous and fights the fight News update 9/26/17 : Saudi Women Are Now Allowed to Drive! https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/w... ********************************** I am not inclined to read memoirs as a rule, unless it is one by a remarkable individual whose story is impactful, whose journey is more than just trying to find oneself, whose story has something in it that I, not just as a woman, but as a human being should know. This is one such memoir of a truly remarkable woman who is smart and courageous and fights the fight not just for herself but for all women. Manal Al-Sharif, has written a personal account but it is not just one woman's story . It represents the story of so many other women in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the world living with restrictions on their lives - restrictions of law , of religious beliefs, of customs. This is not just about being jailed for driving , but is a telling of her life and of the injustices imposed on women. Women in this society where she was raised cannot control their own lives . True they couldn't drive but they were also subject to the idea of male guardianship - a husband or father or brother has control of you. In some cases as it was for Manal and her sister, they were subjected to the ultimate of degradations -female circumcision, what she says is really genital mutilation. She emphasizes the importance of education in her life. While the introduction of schools for girls had restrictions and beatings and were dirty, Manal says she is "grateful for school " because it was there that she learned how to read. A good part of the book does focus on her arrest and her work with organizations and social media to inform and try to change these restrictions, but I was given an education on the culture and customs of Saudi Arabia, of which I knew little about as she writes of her earlier life. As she is subjected to imprisonment in awful conditions because she drove a car, she is told she broke no law but was told , "You broke orf " (tradition or custom) This is a bold and powerful story, fascinating, gut wrenching and hopeful. Her book is subtitled "A Saudi Woman's Awakening" but it is also an awakening for the reader - to the Saudi culture, to the injustice towards women and to a personal acknowledgement of just how lucky I am to be in this country in spite of my concern over some of the things I see happening today. I highly recommend this to my women Goodreads friends and of course my male friends should read it too. I received an advanced copy of this book from Simon & Schuster through NetGalley.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    A comprehensive and honest rendering of a woman's life in Saudi Arabia. For any curious about if what you hear and see on the television is true, this book will astonish, fill in many blanks about living in a country ruled by Sharia law. A country where the religious police are given even more power than the law. The author takes us through her childhood, living in Mecca, her parents, a sister she was often at odds with and her beloved brother. Where a woman is allowed to do so little on her A comprehensive and honest rendering of a woman's life in Saudi Arabia. For any curious about if what you hear and see on the television is true, this book will astonish, fill in many blanks about living in a country ruled by Sharia law. A country where the religious police are given even more power than the law. The author takes us through her childhood, living in Mecca, her parents, a sister she was often at odds with and her beloved brother. Where a woman is allowed to do so little on her own, where a male family member or guardian must intercede and give approval for the smallest thing, even medical care. Will show how the younger generation is being radicalized​, and the basis for the commitment in Sharia law by this younger group. Some of this I knew but never in such detail. It is almost unbelievable some of the things that are both allowed, and I know most readers will find some of these events shocking. The bravery and the honesty, of this young woman who no longer lives in this county though still maintains close ties there, is awe inspiring. Things are changing, but so very slowly and due to woman such as these who put their lives and happiness on the line for others. A very profound telling, written in a very personal way, I came away with so much admiration for this woman and her strength. A book that makes me realize that no matter how unhappy I am with what is going on in the political arena and onslaught​s on woman's rights, I am still lucky to live in the country I do. It also showed me the importance of defending what we do have and standing up for what we believe.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    My review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, also can be found on my my blog. Daring to Drive follows Manal al-Sharif’s journey to becoming a leader of Women to Drive, a campaign protesting Saudi Arabia’s now-overturned ban on women driving. Much of the memoir describes al-Sharif’s working-class childhood in Mecca; the author sketches her family life, explains Saudi customs, and recounts how her generation was radicalized by a fundamentalist education instituted in the wake of tragedy. My review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, also can be found on my my blog. Daring to Drive follows Manal al-Sharif’s journey to becoming a leader of Women to Drive, a campaign protesting Saudi Arabia’s now-overturned ban on women driving. Much of the memoir describes al-Sharif’s working-class childhood in Mecca; the author sketches her family life, explains Saudi customs, and recounts how her generation was radicalized by a fundamentalist education instituted in the wake of tragedy. Later chapters reflect on the autonomy al-Sharif gained as one of the few women working at Aramco, an oil company whose workers live in a Westernized compound. Here the author also details her abusive first marriage and the workplace sexism she encountered. The memoir is bookended by sections describing the author’s arrest for “driving while female” and her turn toward activism. By the time she returns to her arrest, al-Sharif has contextualized Saudi society and made clear the significance of the Women to Drive movement. Al-Sharif writes precisely, with a matter-of-fact tone that registers but glosses over the pain of what she describes. Her perseverance is astounding, and her memoir's well worth checking out.

  5. 4 out of 5

    abby

    "The rain begins with a single drop." When Manal al-Sharif got behind the wheel of the car she'd spent years making payments on and rode onto the city streets of Saudi Arabia, she was sure she had the law behind her. After all, a woman driving a car is not illegal so much as it is against tradition. Manal quickly learned how very little the legality of it all mattered to the Saudi secret police. She was arrested and thrown into a women's prison with appalling conditions. Like many of her fellow "The rain begins with a single drop." When Manal al-Sharif got behind the wheel of the car she'd spent years making payments on and rode onto the city streets of Saudi Arabia, she was sure she had the law behind her. After all, a woman driving a car is not illegal so much as it is against tradition. Manal quickly learned how very little the legality of it all mattered to the Saudi secret police. She was arrested and thrown into a women's prison with appalling conditions. Like many of her fellow female inmates, she was never charged with a crime. Manal started to fear she had "disappeared" and would never see her young son again. What begins with the story of breaking the social taboo of driving while female, continues with not just the memoir of al-Sharif's own life, but with a story of womanhood at large in the Saudi Kingdom. The author recounts the humiliating experience of her circumcision, of her mother calling her by her brother's name in public because the mere sound of a female name could incite lust in men, and how her beloved male cousins never saw her again after her first period (she literally wouldn't recognize them today if she passed them on street). Even so, Manal was a fervent fundamentalist in her youth. All day at her girls school, she indoctrinated, told rigid adherence to extreme Islam was the only path to Heaven. She often searched through her family's belongings, destroying anything considered forbidden. "It was the younger generation, my cousins, who imposed this level of segregation and religiosity on their elders and set these draconian rules for their parents, rather than the other way around." Al-Sharif's parents didn't always need convincing to strict adherence to Islamic law and custom. Her father beat her mother, as is considered his right, and both, in turn, beat the author and her siblings. But her mother was determined that her children, son and daughters both, would get an education. The father who beat her and denied her in the name of being her male guardian (and having the final word in all matters of her life), drove six hours a day to shuttle her to and fro college. Manal earns a computer science degree and starts working for a Saudi company that operates on a compound immune from the restrictions placed on the country at large. While on the compound, women can drive, forgo the niqab or even the hijab, work with men, and rent an apartment without written permission from her male guardian. But if al-Sharif ever wanted to leave the compound, she would have to hire a male driver. These drivers are often unlicensed and reckless. Fed up, al-Sharif joined a movement called Women2Drive that encouraged Saudi women to take video of themselves driving and post it on social media. It was a turning point for Manal, but she paid a heavy price. This is a really compelling book. It brought to light many aspects of Saudi culture of which I was previously ignorant. I wish Manal the best of luck as she goes forward in her efforts to liberate the women of her country. Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for giving me a copy of this book to review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Esil

    I can't begin to imagine what it feels like to live in a society in which there are so many restrictions on women's rights and freedoms. Daring to Drive is Manal al-Sharif's memoir of her life in Saudi Arabia. Her claim to fame is that she was arrested for driving, and that she has led a campaign to give women the right to drive in Saudi Arabia. Manal's writing is straightforward and powerful. She recounts her childhood, her university years, her first marriage and her work as the only woman in I can't begin to imagine what it feels like to live in a society in which there are so many restrictions on women's rights and freedoms. Daring to Drive is Manal al-Sharif's memoir of her life in Saudi Arabia. Her claim to fame is that she was arrested for driving, and that she has led a campaign to give women the right to drive in Saudi Arabia. Manal's writing is straightforward and powerful. She recounts her childhood, her university years, her first marriage and her work as the only woman in a tech group in a state owned company. Throughout she makes very clear the practical, physical and emotional impact of the restrictions on women's freedom in Saudi Arabia. Not being allowed to drive is just one example, but it means that women have little freedom of movement, limiting their access to education, work and even basic health services, while placing them at the mercy of male drivers. From my perspective, what Manal describes feels incredibly claustrophobic, reading like some kind of dystopian fiction. Manal's book is important because it is told from the perspective of a woman who grew up in Saudi Arabia. This is not the judgemental view of an outsider, but rather the perspective of someone who has lived the nuances of her society. In many ways, her parents are despicable but they are the products of their world and Manal sees the good and the bad in them, ultimately loving them for their strengths. She does not denounce her religion, but she denounces the manner in which it has been interpreted. Manal no longer lives in Saudi Arabia, but I would hope that she will share future memoirs about her life as she clearly still has a lot to say and contribute to issues of women's rights in the Middle East. Highly recommended. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    In 2011, Manal al-Sharif was imprisoned for nine days for "driving while female" after a video of her driving went viral on Youtube. While not against any statutory laws she was defying the strict religious customs that prevent women from having any independence. In this wonderful account of her life Manal describes her upbringing in the holy city of Mecca and the religious teaching at school that taught hate of anything different and resulted in her adopting extremist radical views during her In 2011, Manal al-Sharif was imprisoned for nine days for "driving while female" after a video of her driving went viral on Youtube. While not against any statutory laws she was defying the strict religious customs that prevent women from having any independence. In this wonderful account of her life Manal describes her upbringing in the holy city of Mecca and the religious teaching at school that taught hate of anything different and resulted in her adopting extremist radical views during her teenage years to the point where she destroyed her brothers tapes of western music (forbidden) and stopped drawing (drawing living things was also forbidden). She describes how restrictive life is for women as they can only be in the company of men they are related to (fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, grandfathers) so that women have died or given birth alone at home for want of a male relative to take them to hospital. Manal's enlightenment came when she graduated University (a co-ed campus but one where girls sat in a separate room to boys and listened to their lectures) and got a job as a computer security consultant for the national oil company Saudi Aramco. Originally set up by the US, the company was sold to Saudi Arabia with the stipulation that women be allowed to continue to work there. Inside the company compound (where only non-Saudi women were allowed to live), Manal experienced a freer way of life at work. One where she could talk to men, take off her niqab, and where she was allowed to drive. This book was a real eye-opener for me as Saudi Arabia seems to be one of the more modern Arab states but from Manal's account it feels like their treatment of women is still in the dark ages. Manal's spirit and her quest for better treatment for Saudi women comes through in her simply written and inspiring account. Manal is only able to write and publish this book because she no longer able to live in Saudi as a result of her courage in taking on the religious police and daring to drive. With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher Simon & Schuster for a copy of the book to read and review

  8. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    4.5 stars This book is an inspiring story of a Saudi Arabian woman who rebels against her government's rule against women driving cars . Even though this is this is the 21st century, women are still forbidden to drive cars in Saudi Arabia by custom, not by law. Manal is arrested and imprisoned for daring to drive a car and post a recording of herself doing so online. But this book is also a story of her life growing up in Saudi Arabia. She was born in 1979 and she describes the extreme 4.5 stars This book is an inspiring story of a Saudi Arabian woman who rebels against her government's rule against women driving cars . Even though this is this is the 21st century, women are still forbidden to drive cars in Saudi Arabia by custom, not by law. Manal is arrested and imprisoned for daring to drive a car and post a recording of herself doing so online. But this book is also a story of her life growing up in Saudi Arabia. She was born in 1979 and she describes the extreme conservative ideology taught in Saudi schools. Some quotes: On her time in prison: "We have a phrase in Arabic:'He swept the floor with my dignity.' Privacy: "My uncle who was wealthier than my father, had nine kids, and they all slept together. We couldn't believe that there were places in the world where kids had their own rooms like we saw in the movies." My wife and I each have a car and have had one apiece since 1977. I can't understand a society that undervalues and restricts women like Saudi Arabia. If you read and enjoyed "I am Malala" you will like this book. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me this book. Update, Sept 26, 2017, Saudi Arabia will allow women to drive. See https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articl...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Montzalee Wittmann

    Daring to Drive: A gripping account of one woman's home-grown courage that will speak to the fighter in all of us by Manal Al-Sharif is a book I requested from NetGalley and the book publishers and the review is voluntary. This book had my emotions everywhere. It is sad, heartbreaking, full of encouragement, hope, made me angry, happy, and many emotions in between. There are a lot of stories about many women in Saudi Arabia, from their early life on. I am a nurse and I had a friend that was a Daring to Drive: A gripping account of one woman's home-grown courage that will speak to the fighter in all of us by Manal Al-Sharif is a book I requested from NetGalley and the book publishers and the review is voluntary. This book had my emotions everywhere. It is sad, heartbreaking, full of encouragement, hope, made me angry, happy, and many emotions in between. There are a lot of stories about many women in Saudi Arabia, from their early life on. I am a nurse and I had a friend that was a nurse in the ER there for three years and she told me horrendous stories involving the the abuse of the women, mostly from neglect, so this book really caught my eye. On World Music there was a song about this woman too. Her bravery and her courage is to be commended esp. in a society that treats women with such contempt. A wonderful book. All women should read this!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bianca

    The recent announcement that Saudi women are finally! allowed to drive prompted me to read this memoir sooner rather than later. Manal Al- Sharif has become (in)famous for getting arrested for driving while female. For most of us around the world, this is beyond ridiculous. Well, show me a religion that doesn't discriminate, oppress women in some ways. Then add to that a tribal society, with extreme, fanatical religious beliefs and customs and you've got Saudi Arabia. Besides Al-Sharif's The recent announcement that Saudi women are finally! allowed to drive prompted me to read this memoir sooner rather than later. Manal Al- Sharif has become (in)famous for getting arrested for driving while female. For most of us around the world, this is beyond ridiculous. Well, show me a religion that doesn't discriminate, oppress women in some ways. Then add to that a tribal society, with extreme, fanatical religious beliefs and customs and you've got Saudi Arabia. Besides Al-Sharif's troubles for driving, I've learnt so much more about the Saudi society. I'm afraid, I can't think of one positive thing. I was seething reading about the million and one injustices and hardships bestowed upon Saudi women. I was both calmed and annoyed with Al-Sharif's somewhat detached, elegant and delicate writing. I'm not sure if it's the translation or that's just how she wrote or it could just be a cultural thing, after all, Saudi women have been taught for many generations to keep quiet, to hide in plain sight. They're not even referred by their own names, but by their male guardian's! (Insert very unladylike words). Al-Sharif's strength and courage are to be admired and praised. As it's, unfortunately, the case for the people who push the societal boundaries, she paid a huge price, including losing custody of her son from her first marriage. As I was saying, I was seething while reading, which is nothing compared to what Al-Sharif and the Saudi women have to suffer through. As it's often the case, education more often than not means liberation. Financial independence means freedom. You don't have to be very smart to realise why in so many less developed countries women are discouraged from getting an education. Although Al-Sharif came from a very poor family, with both her mum and father being almost illiterate, she, her older sister and younger brother got a tertiary education. With that came knowledge, learning of different views, and not in the least, the ability to get a job. Al-Sharif's travelling for work to some Western countries, including living and working in the USA for one year, opened up her mind even more. The Internet, for all its drawbacks, is without a doubt one of the most important factors that contributed to many people's liberation through information and, most importantly, by providing the means for communication. Facebook and Twitter allowed Al-Sharif to organise other women and then communicate with the world about her plight. Without the world knowing about her, she would have probably perished. I'll conclude by saying that Daring to Drive was well worth getting me fired up against religion and/or men - Neanderthal men, that is. Best wishes to Manal Al-Sharif and to the Saudi women and other women subjugated by men and/or religion. I've received this book via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    I simply cannot imagine for the life of me, what it must be like to be told that as a woman, you are not allowed to drive. It's something that we just see as a given right here, and something that is done automatically each day, without even considering that in other countries, these rights do not exist. This book has certainly opened my eyes, to the hardships and battles that women across the globe face on a daily basis, sometimes even just to be recognised as human beings. What is so remarkable I simply cannot imagine for the life of me, what it must be like to be told that as a woman, you are not allowed to drive. It's something that we just see as a given right here, and something that is done automatically each day, without even considering that in other countries, these rights do not exist. This book has certainly opened my eyes, to the hardships and battles that women across the globe face on a daily basis, sometimes even just to be recognised as human beings. What is so remarkable about Manal Al-Sharif, is not only did she fight for what she believed was right, regardless of any consequences, but she did this for the sake of all women. This memoir reflects the lives of other women in Saudi Arabia, that are living with these terrible restrictions on their lives. Manal Al-Sharif, stood up for those women, as she believed that women should have the right to get behind the wheel, just as much as men have the right. I am certainly on Manal Al-Sharif's side here. Driving is a basic right and it should be a basic right for both sexes. This book is also a very personal telling of her life. When I learned of the genital mutilation that she had suffered at a terribly young age, I was reduced to tears. I cannot begin to imagine how incredibly horrendous that was to endure, and then attempt to live with the aftermath, especially at such a tender age. I like that Manal Al-Sharif talks of education a great deal in this book. Even though she was beaten and there were a high amount of restrictions to girls in education, she ensures that the reader knows that she is entirely grateful for this education, as that is where she learned to read. This is such a powerful story, told by a courageous, inspirational and strong woman. This memoir will stay with me a long time.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joud

    There are no words to describe this book, it is simply put mind-blowing. Manal details her life from the moment she was born. She describes her poor upbringing and her struggle to break free from the restrictions that Saudi society enforce on women who dare to take control of their own lives. She talks about the doctrines that she absorbed from her environment when she was a young girl that made her believe she was unable to make her own decisions. Most conservative religious societies have There are no words to describe this book, it is simply put mind-blowing. Manal details her life from the moment she was born. She describes her poor upbringing and her struggle to break free from the restrictions that Saudi society enforce on women who dare to take control of their own lives. She talks about the doctrines that she absorbed from her environment when she was a young girl that made her believe she was unable to make her own decisions. Most conservative religious societies have rules to ensure that people don't stray from the right path. However, the dilemma Manal faced was that her Saudi Society was twisting religion and using it as an excuse to treat woman like minors who have no authority over their lives. As Manal grew up she became more curious and started reading articles on the internet which showed her different point of views. This made her realize that most of those so-called extreme religious views were actually Saudi traditions and had nothing to do with Islam. Case in point, there is nothing in Islam that bans women from driving, however since Saudi Society is very conservative they view women who drive as women with loose morals. Manal faced a lot of difficulties that woman from traditional societies face. She moved from her family home to another city to attend university and lived in an apartment with her friend. Manal then became the first woman in her company to join the Information Security department. She also traveled to America for a year and this encouraged her to get an official driving license. However, even though Manal was an educated woman with a job, she still needed her guardian’s signature to open a bank account, rent a home, and travel abroad. The guardian is her nearest male relative and it can be her father, brother, or in the future her adult son. This was preposterous to Manal, who having experienced freedom in America felt constricted by the Saudi laws. Manal had a car which she bought with her own money but since she was a woman she couldn’t drive it. This incited Manal to start the Woman2drive movement which was inspired by the Arab spring. The campaign was supported by many Saudi women who also wanted their basic human right of mobility. In the book Manal states how she drove her car in the city of Khobar, and even though there wasn’t any official law that banned women from driving Manal was sent to jail. There was no hearing and no meeting with a judge. The secret police showed up at Manal’s door in the middle of the night and forced her to go to Jail, where she spent nine days living in the most harrowing situation imaginable. The jail was dirty and cockroaches roamed everywhere. The cleaning facilities were lacking and a woman who finished her sentence couldn’t get out of jail without her guardian’s signature. This book gives us a truthful and an honest insight of the lives of many Saudi women whose existence is controlled by men. Manal’s personal story is inspiring because in spite of the challenges she faced at every step of the way she never gave up. Even though women working with men was seen as taboo in the kingdom, Manal persevered in her job and proved her competence. Manal is a courageous woman whose quote “The rain begins with a single drop” was an indicative of the positive news to come. Three months after Manal published her book, the King decreed a royal order that finally allowed women to drive. I applaud Manal for being fearless and strong and following her heart regardless of other people’s opinions. Her story is one that deserves to be read and I’m really glad that she decided to share it with the world. I recommend reading this awesome book if you want to understand the struggles Manal faced during her journey and how she overcame these challenges successfully.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Care

    Daring to Drive is a blunt, honest, and captivating memoir that describes Manal al-Sharif's story. al-Sharif tells of her childhood growing up in Mecca where she was educated according to strict religious doctrines and her journey to being imprisoned for driving while female. While not a legal violation in Saudi Arabia, women driving goes against Saudi tradition and is subject to the religious police interfering. al-Sharif was imprisoned in a jail with terrible conditions while the outside news Daring to Drive is a blunt, honest, and captivating memoir that describes Manal al-Sharif's story. al-Sharif tells of her childhood growing up in Mecca where she was educated according to strict religious doctrines and her journey to being imprisoned for driving while female. While not a legal violation in Saudi Arabia, women driving goes against Saudi tradition and is subject to the religious police interfering. al-Sharif was imprisoned in a jail with terrible conditions while the outside news world told egregious lies slandering her. This book is an incredible look into Saudi society and especially the lives of Saudi women. This memoir is incredibly well-written and evocative. Perhaps it's strongest aspect is how upfront and honest al-Sharif is about various aspects of her life, including her own foray into religious extremism and her damaged familial relationships. She provides a full picture of growing up as a girl in Saudi Arabia, telling a compelling and infuriating story of what it means to be a woman in this country. An inspiring read, I recommend this to all mature readers (there are some descriptions of violence and brutality). Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the book in exchange for a fair review!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Abdullah Almuslem

    This is a very interesting and a well told story At the beginning, I hesitated to read this book, but once I started, I couldn't stop. I remember the Women2Drive campaign and the big attention it created at the time. I also remember reading things here and there about Manal Al-Sharif but other than the stuff I read, I did not know anything about her. I must say, I was shocked with the honesty and the complete openness in her story describing things considered very private matters and rarely This is a very interesting and a well told story At the beginning, I hesitated to read this book, but once I started, I couldn't stop. I remember the Women2Drive campaign and the big attention it created at the time. I also remember reading things here and there about Manal Al-Sharif but other than the stuff I read, I did not know anything about her. I must say, I was shocked with the honesty and the complete openness in her story describing things considered very private matters and rarely shared in our conservative society. It is interesting that the author was born in 1979 which is considered to be an extremely unstable year in the entire Middle East ( Jyhaman attack on the holy Mosque , the uprising and the unrest of the Shia in the eastern part of Saudi, The Iranian revolution, etc.). It seems that this year hold a cosmological effect on people to have a deep desire to change their reality. Manal destiny was to be born in the middle of all of that and to have that burning desire to change. This is illustrated when a friend of Manal wrote about her intention to drive and said to her: “trouble-maker", She replied: “No, history-maker” The book is enlightening and very informative especially when it comes to the condition of women in Saudi. I was struck with the immense helplessness feelings that Saudi women experience in our society. Not to say that I did not know, but I was ignorant about how deep their helplessness is shaping their entire life. I knew there are limitations to women in Saudi (one of them is not being able to drive) but I never I asked myself how a girl living in Saudi feel about all of the limitations that chained her. The author describes these feelings very vividly. When I imagined all of these restrictions imposed on me, I felt like a "prisoner" and my life was almost worthless. In short, this book summarizes the abuse, the struggle, the social restrictions, and the humanitarian situation of women in Saudi Arabia. While the story is depressing in some part, I thought that the author had very rich and fruitful life experience. Even being jailed for driving was not so bad after all. She says about it: " My arrest was in some ways an education: I was learning about domestic slavery". Even the troubles she had at home during her childhood had some merit to it. It taught her what affects the psychology of a child and what motivate it. Perhaps, it stimulated her desire to fight for her rights in a society dictates what and what shouldn't she do. Her story teaches us to see an opportunity in every situation. I strongly urge Saudi men to read this book as it will give them a different angle than their acute angle in which they see the world. Maybe, this book will twist their mind to respect women and give them a little bit of freedom. I end my review with a quote from the book: "There can be no modern Saudi kingdom as long as women are still ruled by men" Excellent book and highly recommended

  15. 4 out of 5

    Book Riot Community

    Manal al-Sharif was a self-described religious radical during her adolescence. Then, as she received a college education and embarked on a ten-year career at Aramco, the Saudi oil company, her perspective began to shift. When she was harassed for chatting with a male colleague at work and forced to have her brother accompany her on a foreign business trip to act as her chaperone, something snapped. Manal realized that the cultural rules binding Saudi women were suffocating her. She became active Manal al-Sharif was a self-described religious radical during her adolescence. Then, as she received a college education and embarked on a ten-year career at Aramco, the Saudi oil company, her perspective began to shift. When she was harassed for chatting with a male colleague at work and forced to have her brother accompany her on a foreign business trip to act as her chaperone, something snapped. Manal realized that the cultural rules binding Saudi women were suffocating her. She became active in the fight to change one such rule–the driving ban, which is not a law per se, but a strong taboo that few have dared to challenge. In this memoir, Manal tells her remarkable story, from her childhood in Mecca–where she suffered poverty, abuse, and female genital mutilation–to her current role as an activist, a role that has cost her dearly. I could not put this book down. It’s inspiring and infuriating in equal measure. I can’t recommend it highly enough. — Kate Scott from The Best Books We Read In June 2017: https://bookriot.com/2017/07/03/riot-...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    [4.4 stars] Until I read "City of Veils," a detective novel set in Saudi Arabia, I hadn't given much thought to the hobbled day to day existence of Saudi women. Daring to Drive is even more eye-opening. As a past religious fundamentalist who grew up poor, Al-Sharif, like all Saudi women (except perhaps royalty) encounters continuous discrimination. She is honest about her insular prejudices and how they changed. I appreciated that this wasn't a ghost-written book. Al-Sharif is an excellent [4.4 stars] Until I read "City of Veils," a detective novel set in Saudi Arabia, I hadn't given much thought to the hobbled day to day existence of Saudi women. Daring to Drive is even more eye-opening. As a past religious fundamentalist who grew up poor, Al-Sharif, like all Saudi women (except perhaps royalty) encounters continuous discrimination. She is honest about her insular prejudices and how they changed. I appreciated that this wasn't a ghost-written book. Al-Sharif is an excellent story-teller and a clear-eyed writer.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    I had the enormous privilege to meet Manal a couple of weeks ago, at the bookstore I manage. Thank goodness the world has strong, determined women like Manal! To be so young & to have gone through so much, standing up for a horrendous patriarchal world (as a whole, & in particular, Saudi Arabia), but still to be lovely, positive, & generous - a true hero. An inspiration for us all. I know the Western world still has a long way to go in terms of the way women still get treated at the I had the enormous privilege to meet Manal a couple of weeks ago, at the bookstore I manage. Thank goodness the world has strong, determined women like Manal! To be so young & to have gone through so much, standing up for a horrendous patriarchal world (as a whole, & in particular, Saudi Arabia), but still to be lovely, positive, & generous - a true hero. An inspiration for us all. I know the Western world still has a long way to go in terms of the way women still get treated at the hands of men; but the outrageous stories in this book, some simply occurring due to the fact that women are not given the opportunity to get a car license - family members dying as there was only a woman home for example - really serve to put in perspective how far some countries really have to go. A must read, although of course, sadly the people who most need to read it, will be the ones who would rather burn it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Zak

    The writer, a female, was arrested and jailed for daring to drive publicly in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The offense listed on her charge sheet: "Driving while female". If you think that's a joke, it's not. The book covers her formative years right up to "the drive" and its aftermath. I like that the book gave a very detailed account of the prejudices and difficulties she faced growing up in a religiously conservative family and society. It provided the necessary backdrop to understand The writer, a female, was arrested and jailed for daring to drive publicly in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The offense listed on her charge sheet: "Driving while female". If you think that's a joke, it's not. The book covers her formative years right up to "the drive" and its aftermath. I like that the book gave a very detailed account of the prejudices and difficulties she faced growing up in a religiously conservative family and society. It provided the necessary backdrop to understand why a woman just driving a car there was such a big thing and why, in the end, she felt it just had to be done, despite all the threats and warnings she had received. She was not the first woman to drive in the KSA. 42 others had tried years earlier, when she was still a child and all had been arrested and suffered the terrible consequences, to varying degrees, for the rest of their lives. However, in an age of technology and social media, her story got the most media and international attention, so much so that she has been dubbed the Rosa Parks of the KSA. I applaud her courage in fighting for her rights and the rights of every woman in her native country. Whilst it would be tempting to condemn all Saudi men as misguided misogynists, we need to remember also that many of the same men supported and helped her in her fight. To these men, I applaud their courage too. Centuries of customs, traditions and thinking do not just change overnight. One can only hope that the change continues apace in a peaceful manner.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    I imagine that, like me, most women in the West take their right to drive for granted. I don't know that I ever really thought about it before, what it would be like to not be allowed to drive. What it would be like to be denied the right to get behind the wheel of a car and take myself to the doctor, to a friend's, to work, to a store. Not be allowed to do that, simply for being female. Yet, there are places in the world where women are routinely denied this right; it's more than just an I imagine that, like me, most women in the West take their right to drive for granted. I don't know that I ever really thought about it before, what it would be like to not be allowed to drive. What it would be like to be denied the right to get behind the wheel of a car and take myself to the doctor, to a friend's, to work, to a store. Not be allowed to do that, simply for being female. Yet, there are places in the world where women are routinely denied this right; it's more than just an inconvenience; it also sometimes puts these women and their children at risk for their lives. They are forced to rely on their male guardians or hired drivers when they can get them, and if none is available, they are forced to remain where they are even if they are sick and badly in need of a doctor. In 2011, Manal Al-Sharif set out to change those laws in her home country of Saudi Arabia and "Daring to Drive" is her story. It is very well-written, most interesting, and shows what a courageous and strong woman she is, to stand up and fight oppression and sexism, and demand the right to be allowed to drive. She was arrested and detained in a horrible prison for daring to get behind the wheel of a car and drive it on the streets of her city, and yet she continued to fight. This is her story, the woman who dared to drive. And what a remarkable story it is!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    This autobiography is exactly what the subtitle says it is: A Saudi Woman's Awakening. Although she sounded a bit like a little rebel when young, she had some life experiences that clearly etched out a new path for her that led her to being an activist. She dared to go against tradition, both religious traditions and family ones and had to endure the fallout. This was a sad story at times, but I enjoyed her survival spirit and her commitment to following her heart.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Liza Fireman

    Unfortunately, I cannot say that the book surprised me, and not because what happened was despicable, just because I knew that this is how women are treated in some radical countries. Manal did a terrible crime, she *drove*, while being a female. "I had been pulled over by the traffic police for the “crime” of driving my brother’s car. The specific citation was “driving while female.” She was arrested against the "laws,", most lawyers didn't want to speak with her, she couldn't even talk with a Unfortunately, I cannot say that the book surprised me, and not because what happened was despicable, just because I knew that this is how women are treated in some radical countries. Manal did a terrible crime, she *drove*, while being a female. "I had been pulled over by the traffic police for the “crime” of driving my brother’s car. The specific citation was “driving while female.” She was arrested against the "laws,", most lawyers didn't want to speak with her, she couldn't even talk with a lawyer that did agree to talk to her (they allowed her to talk to her sister-in-law only), and later she suffered at her work place. The system says that no one can be arrested for a minor crime between the hours of sunset and sunrise. The same system also says that you cannot arrest anyone without a statement from a judge, unless the authorities consider you a threat to national security. There is at length description for her time in jail, the jail conditions and the Women2Drive movement. A ton of will power is needed to do something like that, and the sacrifice is huge. Manal also described her childhood, her circumcision, the prevention from playing with boys or even talk to her cousins. Unwritten Saudi rules determined far more than my holiday celebrations, they cast a shadow over nearly my entire childhood.. A male is much more important than a female, and it becomes worse with time. Even a woman’s need to have one designated male guardian—a father, husband, brother, uncle, or son—to provide permission for the most basic activities—including travel, particularly outside the country—is a relatively recent development in Saudi society. Manal is a courageous person, she made a change and fought for what she believes. With all of what she went through, she is a religious person (Rafael asked what he would have to do to marry me. My answer was simple: become a Muslim., and still the governments everywhere continued to torture her. As a Saudi citizen (man or woman) you must have special permission from the interior minister to marry a non-Saudi. I asked for permission to marry Rafael, and the Saudi authorities refused. We could not marry in Dubai, either; its government said I needed permission from the Saudi embassy.). You can find much more of these example in the book. 4 stars for the book, a lot more for this woman. We need to stand up with them, we need more of these initiatives!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carol Douglas

    Manal Al-Sharif tells of her amazing evolution from being a fundamentalist Saudi girl who destroyed her brother's music tapes to a woman who defied taboos and drove a car in Saudi Arabia. The regime arrested and jailed her, but fortunately she got out after a few dreadful days. Al-Sharif was born in Mecca, in a rough area. (I never thought of Mecca as a city that had rough areas, but Rome does, so there's no reason Mecca wouldn't.) Her father was illiterate and her mother was barely literate. But Manal Al-Sharif tells of her amazing evolution from being a fundamentalist Saudi girl who destroyed her brother's music tapes to a woman who defied taboos and drove a car in Saudi Arabia. The regime arrested and jailed her, but fortunately she got out after a few dreadful days. Al-Sharif was born in Mecca, in a rough area. (I never thought of Mecca as a city that had rough areas, but Rome does, so there's no reason Mecca wouldn't.) Her father was illiterate and her mother was barely literate. But her mother was determined that her two daughters and her son should all get college educations, and they did. Her mother came from Libya and had relatives in Egypt, so young Manal had a chance to visit other Arab countries that had more relaxed customs than Saudi (what she calls her country). But when she was a child, Saudi was becoming even more fundamentalist than it had been. Sermons and strident articles convinced her to stop reading the novels she loved and to demand that her family be stricter about religion. (I could sympathize with that, because when I was about ages 10-12, I thought my family wasn't Catholic enough. I too grew out of it.) But Manal desperately wanted an education. She majored in computer science and wound up in a job at Aramco. She found luxuries like parks and a more relaxed social atmosphere in the international company's compound. Among other things, women could drive there. The religious police didn't enter. Having been shut off from men all her life, she not surprisingly married a man more fundamentalist than she. Her marriage was miserable, but she had a son she loved. Eventually she had to get a divorce. She became an activist and tried to organize a day when women would drive on the streets outside the compound, even though women who had tried that in 1990 were arrested and stigmatized. She thought that times had changed, that she wouldn't be arrested because the automobile code said nothing about gender and driving. She was wrong. She describes her nightmare arrest. She didn't intend to become an international activist for women's rights, but she became one. This is a good book and a compelling read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Naomi

    My first 10/5 Star Review for 2017. To call this book AMAZING really understates the impact of the book. This author doesn't hold back in her words and experiences. Absolutely powerful. So, I am going to do something that I really never do in a review. I am going to swear...This book is FUCKING amazing! If you are a woman, READ THIS BOOK! If you believe in women's rights need to be demanded in a country that treats women as though they are nothing more than livestock...READ THIS BOOK. It is easy My first 10/5 Star Review for 2017. To call this book AMAZING really understates the impact of the book. This author doesn't hold back in her words and experiences. Absolutely powerful. So, I am going to do something that I really never do in a review. I am going to swear...This book is FUCKING amazing! If you are a woman, READ THIS BOOK! If you believe in women's rights need to be demanded in a country that treats women as though they are nothing more than livestock...READ THIS BOOK. It is easy to scream about the rights of women in countries where one doesn't have to fear prison or death in doing so. Totally different when one is jailed simply for driving a car. I know a book is fantastic when I have to force myself to put a book down to attend to other books I am reading or the job and I am looking for any reason to pull it up on any device I can find. That was this book. It is a rarity for me these days. I have to say when I made the final call of the book earning a 10/5 stars from me was in reviewing the Goodreads 1 star reviews for it. Eighty percent of them were from males in Middle Eastern countries with no review given. It confirmed EVERYTHING this woman had the guts and courage to write about in being called a whore and other names simply for speaking out OR walking on a street unaccompanied. This book is simply put is just pure #womenpower. (reviewed for publisher through netgalley)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    Manali Al-Sharif grew up in Saudi Arabia and became radicalized to the ideals that took hold in her religion/country in her adolescence. But her education opened her eyes to the unfairness of her country's beliefs, particularly when it came to women's rights. She vowed to drive a car before her 30th birthday, and was thrown in jail for it. This is her story about her awakening and it is filled with some poignant thoughts on the future of her home country. Spectacular read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Naori

    Manal is one of those women that all of us renegades wish to someday be - someone who makes history. One of my very wise friends told me that history is like butter. It can be ingested basically, like on toast, just like with history it will necessarily be created with the passing of time. Or it can be baked, browned, broiled, burned and made into so many things. I don’t know if the analogy exactly works, but Manal makes history in that she orchestrates something monumentous, but she also Manal is one of those women that all of us renegades wish to someday be - someone who makes history. One of my very wise friends told me that history is like butter. It can be ingested basically, like on toast, just like with history it will necessarily be created with the passing of time. Or it can be baked, browned, broiled, burned and made into so many things. I don’t know if the analogy exactly works, but Manal makes history in that she orchestrates something monumentous, but she also creates history by carving space for a very ordinary thing (driving) which unfortunately is extraordinary in her society. She both eats buttered toast and makes soufflés. She accomplishes collectively, intelligently, and through sacrifice, the act of making history as in shaping it, and deeply being a part of it. I felt something move inside of me while I read this book because I know that her name possesses seeds, that standing in this moment is witnessing the roots of history, and that her story will grow for generations.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    Manal Al-Sharif was put in a women's prison for daring to drive in Saudi Arabia, violating the cultural code but not any legal codes. She tells the story of that ordeal here, but she also relates her tough childhood and young adulthood in a country absolutely stifling to women. Even as a college graduate and an employee of a respected company, Al-Sharif could not rent her own apartment. This is an eye-opening and fascinating look into Saudi culture.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Missy J

    "Don't be afraid Fear won't prevent death, it prevents life." -Naguib Mahfouz. "My problem isn't forgetting, my real problem is having excessive memories." - Ghazi Algosaibi. This was a slow going book for me. Not because it was boring. Far from that, this book was very interesting and showed what life is like in Saudi Arabia. I already expected life to be conservative over there, but I wasn't prepared for all the details that just showed how super conservative and terrible it really is. A woman "Don't be afraid Fear won't prevent death, it prevents life." -Naguib Mahfouz. "My problem isn't forgetting, my real problem is having excessive memories." - Ghazi Algosaibi. This was a slow going book for me. Not because it was boring. Far from that, this book was very interesting and showed what life is like in Saudi Arabia. I already expected life to be conservative over there, but I wasn't prepared for all the details that just showed how super conservative and terrible it really is. A woman can't open a bank account without a male guardian. A woman can't rent a place without a male guardian. A woman can't register at university without her father's signature. Simple things like that are not allowed because of something you have no control over - your gender. As a woman, it was really difficult to read this, realizing that women in this day and age have to go through such ridiculous difficulties. That's why I read this at a painstakingly slow pace. It was heavy to swallow. For the author Manal al-Sharif, her education made all the difference in her life. She studied computer science, a fairly new field at the time. Due to her financially poor background, she was driven to find work and earn money to lift her family out of poverty. Even though she harbored a lot of anger against her family. "At first, I pitied my less enlightened parents and siblings. Then I felt superior to them, poor sinners that they were. Then I lost patience with their unwillingness to see the one true path and resorted to threats, intimidation, and yelling. At night, I was tormented by thoughts of what would happen to all of us when we reached our graves." The author was born to a poor taxi driver Saudi Arabian father and a Libyan mother. I was surprised that the mother wasn't accepted by the Saudi Arabian family, simply because she was North African. Despite the fact that she speaks Arabic, can cook delicious North African dishes and has the same religion as the rest of the family, she still was ostracized. I guess petty relatives exist all over the world. The author described an important incident in 1979 that I never heard of before reading this book - the Grand Mosque seizure by a small group of extremist Saudi Arabians which criticized the Saudi kingdom for being too Western. This prompted the Saudi Arabian kingdom to take a more conservative stance and implement sharia rules. The author was part of the first generation of Saudis who were completely brainwashed by this Salafi ideology. The way she describes how she turned from a normal child to a radical Muslim teenager was frightening. When she studied at university and later began work, she was confronted with a lot of things that didn't fit with the way she thought. She had to let go and be more open to other ideas, which helped to "de-radicalize" her. But how many can follow her example if they are stuck within the same social circles and people who are mostly brainwashed? I read this book right after reading the horrific account of a Togolese woman escaping female genital mutilation and seeking asylum in America, only to be treated like a criminal in America's justice system (Do They Hear You When You Cry by Fauziya Kassindja). Kassindja spent almost two years in jail for asking asylum and was physically and mentally decaying. So it was hard to read and compare Manal al-Sharif's story, in which she spent "only" 9 days in jail. But both women didn't commit a crime and were treated like possessions in their home countries. That's what scared me, that women should accept being treated like that. The author now lives in self imposed exile in Australia. She has a son in Saudi Arabia, who is under the custody of her ex husband and not allowed to travel abroad with her. With her new husband, she has another son, who is not allowed to get a Saudi visa. Her sons have never met in person. Since the killing of Khashoggi, the author is even more disappointed and wary about the future of Saudi Arabia.

  28. 5 out of 5

    LAPL Reads

    Manal al-Sharif did not plan to be a rebellious leader of a social or political movement, or to be civilly disobedient, and certainly not to bring any type of public notice to herself, but that is just what happened. She said the cause chose her. Raised in a traditional Muslim home in Saudi Arabia, she tried to be an obedient daughter and student, but inwardly questioned rules and regulations that seemed unfair and irrational. As a smart young woman, she attended King Abdulaziz University, Manal al-Sharif did not plan to be a rebellious leader of a social or political movement, or to be civilly disobedient, and certainly not to bring any type of public notice to herself, but that is just what happened. She said the cause chose her. Raised in a traditional Muslim home in Saudi Arabia, she tried to be an obedient daughter and student, but inwardly questioned rules and regulations that seemed unfair and irrational. As a smart young woman, she attended King Abdulaziz University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science which led to a job with Aramco, the national oil company of Saudi Arabia, where she worked as a computer security engineer. Even though Aramco is a working and living compound unto itself, single Saudi women are not allowed to live there without a male guardian. Religious and social customs permeate all aspects of society, and made it impossible for Manal to find housing. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to find a place to live, Manal and another female Aramco employee, Lamia, found permanent housing because Lamia’s father signed a pledge that permitted his "two daughters" to live in a residential compound in Khobar City. However getting to Aramco from Khobar City was another problem. The Aramco employee bus would not pick up female employees, only male employees. This and other factors were the impetus for Manal's daring to drive as a woman in Saudi Arabia, and for which she was arrested by the secret police. Manal thinks a woman's ability to drive in Saudi Arabia is a major factor in the emancipation of all women. What sounds like a short story by Kafka, is a reality of life for Saudi women who live under the guardianship system that takes place at birth. A woman cannot choose or change her guardian. It goes from a woman’s father to her husband, and if she is widowed or divorced back to her father or brother, or a woman’s son. A woman is anything but free, and must seek the sanction and approval of her guardian for almost all activities in her life. Manal al-Sharif writes honestly about her own life that is representative of many women’s lives who live under this oppressive religious and social system. Not sparing any details, she documents all aspects of her life including how she and her sister suffered the humiliation, pain and danger of being circumcised, "So it was that a few minutes on a single summer morning forever altered two young girls's lives in about as much time as it takes to unlock a car door, slide into a seat, pull a seat belt tight, engage the engine, and back out into the street." Also she is candid about her first marriage, her first son and divorce. Manal was able to leave Saudi Arabia, remarried and gave birth to another son. However, her personal anguish continues because she is not able to have even partial custody of her first child. Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

  29. 4 out of 5

    Yun

    While there were bits and pieces of Daring to Drive that were interesting, and Al-Sharif is certainly to be commended for her courage and passion to bring about positive changes for women in Saudi Arabia, overall this book just didn't grab my attention. (And I feel so bad for saying so!) One reason is that the first half of the book, other than the initial few pages about her arrest, was really slow. She details growing up in Saudi Arabia, and while those are glimpses of her life there, I didn't While there were bits and pieces of Daring to Drive that were interesting, and Al-Sharif is certainly to be commended for her courage and passion to bring about positive changes for women in Saudi Arabia, overall this book just didn't grab my attention. (And I feel so bad for saying so!) One reason is that the first half of the book, other than the initial few pages about her arrest, was really slow. She details growing up in Saudi Arabia, and while those are glimpses of her life there, I didn't feel like I learned anything new. She also spent a lot of pages talking about the radical brand of Islamic religion popular there, and how she felt affinity for that in her youth. Not only was it frustrating to read, but my eyes glazed over from all the religious information. This book also suffers a lot from telling instead of showing, like "Here's something that happened to me, and then here's something else that happened to me". At times, it feels like the author is trying to include every single incidence of her life instead of choosing those that help her narrative. Or that she's trying to pad enough words in to make a book. When you put so much stuff in, a lot of it isn't really relevant and can be cut out to help with the pacing. And there isn't enough attention devoted to the core bits. Perhaps this is a case of it's me and not the book. So many others have really loved this book, and while I didn't get much out of it, it still shines a light on a worthy topic.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Wow, just wow. I am an editor at The News Wheel , an automotive news site, and I was able to get a copy of Daring to Drive from the publisher to review. This book is about so much more than just the right to drive, but also what it means to move throughout your city or society while being seen as something almost less than human. Manal al-Sharif's writing is both clear and compelling, so this is book was a joy to read even though it dealt with some pretty weight subjects like FGM and other forms Wow, just wow. I am an editor at The News Wheel , an automotive news site, and I was able to get a copy of Daring to Drive from the publisher to review. This book is about so much more than just the right to drive, but also what it means to move throughout your city or society while being seen as something almost less than human. Manal al-Sharif's writing is both clear and compelling, so this is book was a joy to read even though it dealt with some pretty weight subjects like FGM and other forms of abuse. To read my full review, check it out on The News Wheel .

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