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Anywhere But Saudi Arabia! Experiences of a Once Reluctant Expat [Paperback]

Kathy Cuddihy
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.95
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Book Description

30 Nov 2012
When Bechtel offered Sean Cuddihy a transfer to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1976, his wife Kathy agreed to go along on one condition: that it was only for two years, not a minute longer. This reluctant commitment turned into a 24-year love affair with Saudi Arabia and its people. Kathy's humorous anecdotes of her adventures and misadventures trace the journey of a country in transition. Never has a nation made so much progress in so short a time. As a trusted journalist and businesswoman, Kathy witnessed, recorded and participated in this spectacular development. From palaces to prisons and mud houses to private jets, Kathy's perspective is unique and her experiences remarkable. Told with the wit and stylishness for which the author is well known, Anywhere But Saudi Arabia! is a treasure for all who know and love the Kingdom, and an eye-opener for those with no comprehension of what life was, and is, like for anunconventional non-Muslim woman in a conservative Muslim population. At times hilarious, at times shocking, but always honest and entertaining, Kathy's story is infused with deep affection for her adopted country.

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Anywhere But Saudi Arabia! Experiences of a Once Reluctant Expat + Inside the Kingdom + In the Land of Invisible Women
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Product details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Medina (30 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956708137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956708137
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 14.6 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 256,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Kathy Cuddihy, Canadian by birth, has lived abroad for most of her life. A penchant for foreign cultures and languages has served her well throughout her extensive travels. Her varied career has included being a jillaroo (cowgirl) in Australia, a secretary at the United Nations in Geneva, and a public relations consultant in Saudi Arabia. This is the author's seventh book. Her two children and four grandchildren reside in the US. Kathy lives with her husband Sean on Bantry Bay, Ireland.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Page Turner 5 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
From the first page I was gripped by this unusually honest and enlightening record of the author's many years in Saudi Arabia.
The descriptive writing gives a wonderfully atmospheric picture of the medieval, almost Biblical, Saudi culture when the author and her husband arrived in the country, to its rapid transformation and modernisation.
From her original stand point of apprehension and being almost afraid of becoming invisible in a male-dominated society, the author slowly but surely pushed boundaries and became a ground breaking entrepreneur in the most unlikely of situations. This she did partly by quickly learning Arabic in order to network more easily and befriend the native Saudi population, royalty to nomadic tribes alike.
Despite being incredibly informative, the writing is witty, absorbing and thoroughly enjoyable.
More than anything this book is a love story of how the author and her family fell hopelessly in love with the country, the people and (of course) the wonderful standard of living they were able to enjoy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable and thoroughly enjoyable book! 2 Feb 2013
Whether recounting hilarious escapades or tackling serious issues with insight, conviction and empathy, Kathy Cuddihy's book, "Anywhere But Saudi Arabia", is note-perfect! Even readers without first-hand knowledge of the Kingdom, provided they have a receptive mind and a sensitive heart, cannot fail to experience some of the joy, warmth and beauty so keenly felt and enthusiastically conveyed by the author. The writer's ability to view the 'cup' as always more than half-full enables her to thrive and blossom, rather than merely survive, in a world few Westerners ever encounter.

A remarkable and thoroughly enjoyable book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More like survival in saudi Arabia, 28 Jan 2013
By Elaine
An absorbing, enlightening and most enjoyable book. Kathy's exploits, adventures and survival techniques deserve the utmost respect and admiration.
I feel that I have learnt so much about living in Saudi in the late 70's. A place so culturally adrift from European life at that time.
A very worthy addition to my collection of world travel books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloom where you're planted! 15 Jan 2013
The stories in this book brought back to memory my own four year experience in Riyadh in the mid '80s. While not subject to the medieval challenges of 1976, Riyadh, I can attest to the author's authenticity in her depictions of life during the period my family and I were there. The reader will appreciate the author's forthright opinions expressed with razor sharp wit as she draws you in and keeps you reading her daily struggles and strategies for coping with life in a culture hugely antithetical to her own. She and her husband share a zest for adventure which is positively contagious! Their ability to open their minds and hearts to the varied lifestyles and people around them rewards them with a richness of friendship and experience that few expats find in the Middle East. With a sense of fun and a determination to penetrate the barriers of language and culture the author has proven even with regard to Saudi Arabia, as Pamela Harman put it, "that we are more alike than different, no matter one's race, religion, color or gender." Well written, fun and inspiring!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reviewed by a Once Reluctant Reader 11 Jan 2013
By Kim
I loved this book! I'm not sure why I read it - perhaps because I am always interested in cultural adjustments, conflicts, different attitudes and ways of living. And, to be honest, I was sure I would not enjoy it. WRONG! Kathy tells an amazing story of her time in Saudi Arabia - from her arrival as a young wife with no children to her departure as a mature woman with grown children. She hobnobs with royalty and admits to social blunders. She was "had" by people she trusted, made friends outside the circles of expats, started and ended businesses, struggled to find trustworthy household staff, and managed to navigate her way into and out of sensitive, and potentially dangerous, situations. She pushes boundaries in a society where limitations for women are the norm. (Kathy's limitations are ethical and moral, not culturally defined.) Her sense of humor and the ability to laugh at herself is infectious. Kathy created an amazing life for herself, in spite of, not because of, being married to a high profile and highly paid engineer who takes her eccentricities in stride. It is surprising that a woman of such privilege seems so - well - grounded! In many ways, and putting her privilege aside, Kathy is the woman next door, the one we'd all love to have in our neighborhoods! Having said that, she had her challenges (don't we all?), met them head on, and stayed true to her principles. She's a mover and a shaker, to be sure. Although this is a story of a female, a wife, a mother, and a business woman in a middle eastern culture, men, also, will appreciate Kathy's ambition, humor, frustrations, obsessions to "do something," sensitivity to her husband's positions, empathy, and - dare I say it - abhorrence - for the restricted roles of women, wives, and daughters in the Saudi culture.

Kathy's writing style is smooth, the book is an entertaining read, and, just when you think she's "done it all," she manages to surprise us with another idea or adventure. Five stars, to be sure!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rainbow in Every Storm 20 Dec 2012
Kathy Cuddihy's engaging, fascinating, well written, well documented memoir of her experiences as a Western woman living and working in Saudi Arabia is a must-read for anyone who loves adventure and, like Kathy, is the first to see a rainbow in every storm. Our world today would be a much better place if all of us could embrace cultural differences and social challenges as Kathy does so deftly and with such engaging humor. Kathy Cuddihy was a trail blazer at a time in Saudi Arabian history who touched many lives in a positive way as she forged ahead to prove that we are more alike than different, no matter our race, religion, color or gender. Thank you, Kathy, for sharing your inspiring, informative, and compelling story with others.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Anywhere But Saudi Arabia
This was a most enjoyable read. Having shared some of the time and experiences with Kathy in Riyadh I felt she captured the atmosphere of the country perfectly. Read more
Published 2 months ago by AW
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
What a great read! I have never really understood the challenges of being an expat especially in Saudi and never understood the Saudi mentally and culture. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Roma
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing title.
Loved Kathy Cuddihy's book Anywhere but Saudi. I expected harrowing tales but instead was treated to an honest ,witty and adventurous story of a family's major life change to an... Read more
Published 6 months ago by beltainerose
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
'Anywhere but Saudi Arabia!' is an extraordinary journey, lived by otherwise ordinary people. One tough decision after another leads to fascinating circumstances, coloured by a... Read more
Published 8 months ago by RJCoolC
5.0 out of 5 stars Anywhere but Saudi Arabia Experiences of a Once Reluctant Expat
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It gave me a great insight into the expat way of life and especially Saudi Arabia which i knew very little about. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Leonie Seely
5.0 out of 5 stars Reluctant No More
Written in the didactic style of Dan Brown, Kathy has managed to convey not only the wealth and knowledge of her experience s in Saudi Arabia, but also the culture and history of... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Wendy Stevenson
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story
Not ever having been to Saudi Arabia, I enjoyed Kathy Cuddihy's introduction to this unfamiliar land. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Harriet
5.0 out of 5 stars A surprising read
I was given this book as a gift and wasn't particularly interested in reading a Saudi memoir. To my surprise, I quickly got caught up in the remarkable story of a remarkable woman. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Alan Taylor
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