AUTHOR: Jean Sasson
Genre: Autobiographical, Non fiction
NO. OF PAGES: 329 (Bantam books)
PRICE: Rs.288 (at Flipkart )
BOOK COVER SAYS: Jean Sasson captures the flavour and reality of life in a country full of extremes and contradictions.Princess 'Sultana', a real Saudi princess closely related to the King, lives those contradictions, with priceless jewels,many servants, unlimited funds at her disposal, but no freedom. A prisoner in a gilded cage with no vote, no control, no value but as a mother of sons, she is totally at the mercy of the men in her life...her father, her brother, her husband.
EXCERPT: "The mere suspiction of sexual misconduct, such as kissing, can bring death to a young girl. in addition, public congratulations are given from the men of religion for the father's 'notable' act of upholding the commands of the Prophet! "
SWARNALI SPEAKS: This is one book which is both entertaining and depressing, very depressing.
Princess Sultana is a real princess,belonging to the Saudi royal family. Her mother was married at a very tender age to a man completely unknown to her. their union produced 11 children, all daughters but one son, Ali. Ali is a carbon copy of her father, tyrannical and very condescending on women around him. Like his father he has numerous wives and an even larger number of concubines. The narrative is filled with stories about the tortures done to women in Saudi Arabia in the name of religion and propriety. Certain tales like that of the Filipino maids, Sara's first wedding to a 60 year old man, the mental and physical tortures she undergoes due to the union, the sacrifice of a few other women who tried to defy the strict laws of the county, are more than cruel.
Despite the gruesome tales, there are instance which makes the reader laugh. Sultana is a very animated character who is lucky to have married to a man who truly loves her. The description given when her future in-laws come to see her before the wedding is truly hilarious.
Princess Sultana makes it very clear to the reader that it is not Allah, her religion , Prophet Mohammed or the Holy Koran which are responsible for the fates of these women,it is for those fanatics, who have corrupted the message of God.
I have read other articles and books where I was told that Saudi Arabia is not as open and lenient to its women like many other Arabian and Muslim countries where women are given sufficient freedom regarding their choice of jobs and clothes and wearing a Hijab is not compulsory.
Filled with a lot of historical facts about the royal family and its origin, unknown stories of cruelty and numerous rituals and religious ceremonies, the book makes a very interesting and gripping read. the style and language are very simple and fluid making it an easy read.
MY RATING: 4.5/5
P.S.- Names of all the characters in the book are fake,to protect the princess and her family.The author has personally told me that they are real people.
P.P.S- Bestselling author of Daughters of Arabia, Desert Royale, Rape of Kuwait, Mayada: Daughter of Iraq and others. The Princess trilogy consists of Princess, Daughters of Arabia and Princess Sultana's Circle.