Sunday, November 18, 2007
I am into memoirs these days. Big time. Not sure why but it seems the range of fiction that is on offer is not so captivating as real life experience itself. Especially if it happens to be the sort of "stranger than fiction" story that Betty Mahmoody weaves in Not Without My Daughter.
This book was unputdownable. Landing in Iran with her husband and her daughter, Betty finds herself captured by a society that recognizes almost no rights to women. An increasingly paranoid doctor husband of her virtually imprisons her in war-torn Teheran. As an American citizen she is free to leave the country - but as an Iranian wife, she doesn't have the choice of taking her daughter with her. What follows is a harrowing plunge into a madman's world - and a nightmarish escape to freedom.
Written in the 1980s, Not Without My Daughter was made into a movie - controversy has attracted both the movie as well the book. To me, I felt there was a bit too much of "America America, I love my America" and too much of "down down Iran and its stinking people" and too little of "let's try and find a balance somewhere." A lot of anti-Iran propaganda seeps through the book, so much so that it prompted a Finnish director to make a documentary on what he felt was the "truth." As a tale of a woman's courage - gripping. As for the rest, I neither support Iran nor America - so therein rests the tale.
Video: Trailer from the movie version of the book.