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Customer Review

on 12 February 1997
The author, Fatima Mernissa, was a professor of Sociology at Muhammad V University, Rabat, Morocco. The book tells of her life growing up in her father's home. It describes the richness of her life, living among an extended family of cousins, aunts and sisters. It tells of nights of communal story telling and play acting, of special outings like going to the public baths and the movies and life in the country side. The men in the book have no names but the women are richly described with their many interests and backgrounds. What makes this book interesting and different is that it is told from the point of view of a 10 year old girl rather than an adult looking back on her childhood. Therefore the book is full of wonder as she is seeking to describe life, trying to figure out what life is about and seeking to define the concept of harem. She discovers that a harem in the city means being locked inside a very large house with a guard on the door and having to seek permission of the men of the house before a woman is permitted to leave, however in the countryside, harem means something much different. The book gives one another picture of women in the Muslim world.
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