Not Without My Daughter

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How does it feel like being in an Islamic Nation? How would you react if you happen to witness a Muslim husband physically abusing his wife in the public? Wait, before you make any hasty decision, Islamic Nations allow men to have full authority over their wife and daughter. (Betty Mahmoody’s Not Without My Daughter suggests the same)

Not Without My Daughter by Betty Mahmoody is a 1987 novel which runs to 420 pages and has an entirely biographical surface. The author is narrating the story of her escape from Iran along with her daughter Mahtob. This novel traces the difficulties that the author and her daughter had to brave in order to land back in the USA from Iran of those days. (Has it changed even recently?)

When I first read the novel, I was filled with an utter disgust against the lawmakers of Islamic nations; how can someone allow a person to beat women in public and everything is fine with the passers by? Iran has been long-known for its hatred against Americans and also to an extent women. All these qualities of this nation are very elaborately captured in Not Without My Daughter.

Talking briefly about the storyline, it might go like the following. In 1977, Betty married Dr. Sayed Bozorg Mahmoody with a hope of better life and a better future. All goes fine and soon they are blessed with a girl child. When the daughter of those, Mahtob, turns five, Sayed tries to persuade his wife to accompany him to Iran. However, Betty doesn’t seem to agree and she is forced to go with Sayed. The hesitation on the part of Betty is understood as she is a little troubled with the thought of being in Iran, knowing that the status of women in Islamic nations is very bad. Moreover, as she holds an American passport, her reservations are more obvious! Somehow, she reaches Iran and got the shock of her life when she was forced to remain there. Her husband wanted her to remain there for life and then the struggle of a woman and her daughter begins – getting out of an Islamic nation Iran… Betty could have done it alone, very easily. However, the fact that her daughter is also trapped there makes her a little more careful about her moves. Rest of the novel is the journey to freedom with so many obstacles on the way…

Her escape from Iran turns out to be a big ordeal involving a lot of torturous situations. But she fights bravely against all odds only for her daughter. The indomitable courageous spirit displayed by Betty was for real. While writing this book she changed the name and places associated with people who helped her to save them from execution by the Iranian Government. Overall a controversial book unveiling lot of inside stories. Anyone who is interested in reading the real feminism in action should go through Betty Mahmoody’s Not Without My Daughter!

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