Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Book Review: In the Land of Invisible Women by Dr. Qanta A. Ahmed
"In the Land of Invisible Women" by Dr. Qanta A. Ahmed
Published by Sourcebooks, Inc.
Rating: 4.5 stars
After being denied a visa to stay in the United States, Dr. Qanta A. Ahmed, a Muslim woman of Pakistani origin, embraces the opportunity to practice medicine in Saudi Arabia. In this book, Dr. Ahmed describes her experiences while living in The Saudi Kingdom as a doctor, and more specifically a female doctor. Though the book chronicles Dr. Ahmed's personal journey, it also represents the lives of so many other oppressed women who are forced to abide by strict rulings or else face the harsh consequences. Dr. Ahmed gives those women a voice and speaks out against this kind of treatment. Through her own observations, Dr. Ahmed learns a great deal about life in The Saudi Kingdom and most importantly, she learns a lot about herself. We also see that although the men often live privileged lives in relation to the women, they also have their own share of obstacles and challnges they must endure.
This is an important story because it perfectly demonstrates that major inequalities between men and women are still rampant in some parts of the world. What Dr. Ahmed witnessed and had to face is a reality for many women and a true testament to their strength and courage. This book took me through a range of emotions, including anger, sadness and amazement. Not only is the story incredibly powerful, Dr. Ahmed's writing is really beautiful. I loved the writing style as and the way she managed to transport me into her experiences. I felt her outrage, her pain and her frustration as though I was living it as well.
While reading the book there were times when I felt that Dr. Ahmed went into too much detail and perhaps less would have been more in some cases. However, I do realize that many of those details are integral parts of her experience and offer important insights into each aspect of daily life as a woman in The Saudi Kingdom.
This book is a well -written and fascinating insider's look into life in Saudi Arabia and the challenges that women and sometimes even men must face in their daily lives.
BIG THANKS to Danielle and Sourcebooks for my review copy.