Tuesday, 12 February 2013

August 2010 - Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea

Well, this months book was certainly a mixed bag - It was a very easy read, with the exception of there being so many foreign names to keep track of.

The group was more in favour of the book than against it, but those who didn't like it felt the characters were weak, boring and only interested in men. The author came across to them as arrogant and very confident in her writing, although that may have been more to do with the translation, or even the idea that the author of the emails was an entirely different person to the real author.

Most of the group found the book an eye opener into the reality and culture of Saudi "upper class" relationships. The male characters in the book were weak, usually giving in to the demands of their families, but also showing an insight into how family life and traditions play a part in choosing a suitable wife.

Certain characters were on the whole disliked, such as Gamrah (and a lot of the men), many were a tad too naive (Sadeem), and others were either not featured as much as we would have liked (such as Lamees and Um Nuri). We all wanted for Michelle to up and leave, be a bit more of an independent woman.

The quotes were another favourite, even members who didn't enjoy the book enjoyed the witty and meaningful intro's to each chapter.

Although the book was easy to read and was gave an insight into the Saudi life, some of us felt the ending was a bit too abrupt, lacking drama and the book as a whole could have included a bit more general Saudi background (although the book was originally intended for a Saudi audience).

We had a total number of 10 members tonight and our average score was 6/10. Lowest score of 2/10 and highest 8/10.

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