Books By Jean Sasson 

Reviews of Princess Sultana's Daughters

Today Explosive

"It is a mark of great courage that Sultana decided to continue her story."

 Kirkus Reviews , May 1, 1994

 

     Sasson (Princess, 1992) again teams up with a Saudi Arabian princess, alias ``Sultana,'' to bring us more tales from behind the veil. Sultana's sequel to girlhood is motherhood, and her memoir reveals that abuse against women runs rampant in the kingdom. Despite the shelter afforded by wealth and privilege, Sultana's daughters live in a world of unending male brutality. Elder daughter Maha spies on her best friend's father as he deflowers petrified 11- and 12-year-old virgins purchased from their fathers for a few nights of pleasure. After witnessing these acts, Maha experiments with lesbianism, suffers a breakdown, and is whisked to an English mental institution. Her sister seizes upon religious fanaticism, pledging her wealth to the poor, discarding her makeup, and vowing to topple the Al-Sauds' unjust rule. Sultana's days are filled with the mundane machinations of motherhood and the high- drama intrigues of her relatives. Her family's trials include trying to prevent a vaginal circumcision, covering up a nephew's rape of a comatose Western woman in a local hospital, abetting two lovers who elope to Nevada, and consoling a sister who was raped and maimed by her husband, as well as common divorce and adultery. In Saudi society, women have no right to travel alone, claim custody of their children, or choose their husbands. Sultana sees herself as a feminist crusader, but the suspense-filled first- person narrative makes her memoir read like a saga of sexual restrictions and transgressions with medieval punishments lurking at each turn. The detailed documentation of swift and cruel Saudi punishment leaves no doubt that if the king discovered Sultana's true identity, she'd pay dearly for airing the family's dirty laundry. In spite of the breathless tone, a fascinating look at the lifestyles of the rich and Saudi. (Author tour) -- Copyright 1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.  

 
Library Journal  


     In this sequel to the popular Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia (LJ 7/92), Sultana continues her shocking and amazing story into the next generation. Feeling that men are generally at the root of female grief, she argues that it is the duty of the discontented like herself to seek change so that her children's generation will have some relief from the oppression that stifles Saudi women's lives today. The book is more than that-it gives insight into the lives of royalty and the views of those who can be religious while flaunting the strict Sunni rules against alcohol and temporary marriage. This book charms the heart and should be a popular item for general collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/94.]-Louise Leonard, Univ. of Florida Libs., Gainesville

 Publisher's Weekly - Publishers Weekly

  
     Sasson's sequel to Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil is another page-turner related by ``Princess Sultana.'' A member of the royal family of Saudi Arabia, Sultana now is married to a progressive prince, but this privileged status does not protect her or her two daughters from the country's repressive laws against women. Though a devout Muslim, Sultana believes the entrenched male power structure has perverted religious doctrine to justify veiling women and depriving them of basic civil liberties. The lack of opportunity to forge equal relationships with men before and after marriage, Sultana argues, is why one of her daughters became fanatically religious and the other suffered a mental breakdown. This eye-opening account is limited to life among the royals rather than a critique of Saudi Arabian society, although Sultana describes the brutal custom of female circumcision practiced by the poor. (July)


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