This is the true story of what life is like for a Saudi Arabian Princess. Told to the author by a member of the Saudi Arabian Royal Family who wishes to remain anonymous, it describes a life of oppression and human rights violations.
Princess Sultana tells the story of her life - her luxurious prison sentence, just because she is a woman in a land where this means second class citizen. No rights, no choice, she is constantly told what will happen to her and her sisters.
She is a Princess yet no one, not even her father, thinks she is anything special - because she is a daughter and only sons are truly wanted. Her voice is defiant and strong, even in the face of danger. She refuses to accept her lot in life - to serve and obey - all the time knowing she could easily be murdered for being a 'difficult' woman. She risks death again and again to do what she thinks is right, to gain a little freedom and choice over her life. Her spirit is amazing - she has hope in the darkest times. It's astounding that this story is real and that she risked so much over and over - knowing that she too could be murdered like her friends and the police would help cover it up.
Some of her stories are truly sickening, I cannot see how she kept going, knowing she had no help in society - no police force, little parental support, should anything happen to her. Women are taught to get on with life no matter what. Men are always right and can do anything, ANYTHING they want.
The only glimmers of humour and lightness are her accounts on the triumphs over her vile brother Ali. I was delighted when she got away with some of them, though tiny moments of satisfaction and joy can never compensate her largely grim existence.
I wouldn't say this book was enjoyable or pleasant. It's shocking, heart wrenching and disgustingly real. By the end of the book I felt depressingly resigned to the fact that I couldn't do anything to help and Sultanas' story was just one of thousands. It is, however, essential to learn about how different life is in other parts of the world. As a Western woman I feel immensely grateful and humbled by Sultanas story. I hope she is happy wherever she is.
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