Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Woman in 1950's Saudi Arabia

At the Drop of a Veil, Marianne Alireza (signed copy)
★ ★ ★ ★
This has been on my TBR for at least 10 years... probably more...
The book spans the years of 1943-1957/58 and was written in 1971
Marianne meets Alireza in college and they marry.....  Not knowing that he would be called into service of Prince Faisal & the King of Saudi Arabia. Thus begins the story of Marianne as she becomes a member of the Harem that is the center of the Alireza family.
Marianne is welcomed into the family & everyone works to help her adjust.  Because she is the (well known) American wife of so high-ranking Arabian family she has many advantages that other women have not: she attends parties where men gather; at times she allowed to go without her veil; she is also allowed to travel the world w/ her husband & attend many diplomatic events.  
Life in Arabia was difficult in the 50's and up until the oil boom, their life of luxury was still one which we would consider harsh.  Multi-family & generation home, lack of running water & modern bathrooms, and abundance of flies, windows w/out glass, a kitchen w/out modern appliances (sinks, stoves, ovens).  Her voice is positive throughout most of the book; she did her best to fit in & did so admirably and she worked to make life easier not just for herself, but for the other women in the family as well.
It was very interesting to read & learn about life for an American woman in the 1950's Saudi Arabia. I found the book to be well written and compelling reading.

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