Daily Archives: November 23, 2008

the girls of riydah by rajaa alsanea

u have to read this book. i just started it and read half of it on the plane on the way here. i cant wait to get back to it.

its like sex in the city or gossip girl but the characters are these 4 college-aged saudi grrls. its written by a saudi gal. it was written w/ the intention that her audience would be saudis. she didnt think it would be of interest to the west. was she ever wrong!

whats cool about it is that dorks like me being all western and not knowing any saudi woman – i only know what i read on the ‘net and see/read in other media – this book has believable characters, some more liberal than the others, who have personalities and opinions and likes and dislikes and dramas and ups and downs. u see the sh*t they have to deal with with men. i thought it was annoying trying to date in NYC. i think its worse for saudi gals. i dont want to be judgmental, but its sad how they have no substantive contact w/ men until they are married. marriages have to approved by families and are often arranged. sometimes there are good relationships between husbands and wives but its portrayed as the exception not the rule. the book doesnt present it as sad, but more like this is their lives and how they deal with it.

just read it ok? its mind-blowing to me how their social customs are so rigid that they cant always marry and date who they want. they dont get to have male friends. its all so novel to me. while this is going on, the grrls manage, as girls always do, to have fun to some extent. there’s the requisite sneaking around that teens will always do no matter what culture they’re in.

there’s no mention of the law against women drivers in KSA. but in one part of the book one of the grrls gets ahold of a BMW SUV with tinted windows and the girls go joy riding without anyone seeing in. of course they open the windows when they pass handsome young men.


i cant wait to see what happens next. i hope this doesnt make me stay up all night finishing it making me a basketcase at werk 2morrow.

Girls of Riyadh on amazon.com

i hope they make this into a movie. (made in ksa and casted and crewed by arabs.)