7.27.2008

Book Review: Girls of Riyadh

I have just finished reading Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa AlSanea. So here's a review as promised :)


This book was first written by this 26 year old Saudi Arabian woman two years ago in Arabic. It was a big hit as far as I know. (It was all over Virgin at the time!) It hadn't appealed to me back then. I'll have to admit that I thought it would be a lame excuse of a novel, probably about chat addicted Saudi youth in search of love on the world wide web.
Stereotypical. Yes, I know.
It was only when I happened to come across this book translated into English (not in Kuwait!) that I thought, "Hmm. I might actually give this a try." The facts that it was published by Penguin, it had an eye-catching cover, and that it had raving reviews by Time, The Associated Press, Glamour, The Seattle Times and more probably helped push me towards the cash counter with the novel in hand.

The novel tells the love stories of 4 Saudi girlfriends in the form of e-mails. The aim of these e-mails is to expose the "secret" and "scandalous" lives of young Saudi's who try to find love in an environment that closes in on their freedom's.
I think the book was an "OK" attempt at what it ventured to achieve. The narrative form was a little too simple, the plot-line a little predictable. I personally found the tone of thenarrator a little annoying at times. Although in the end you find that the novel doesn't really solve any of the problems it has uncovered,onemust give the author some credit for at least posing some important questions concerning the society she writes about. Though it might be a tip-toe of a step that AlSanea has taken towards change with this novel, it is a step nonetheless. Pick it up if you want a light read, only if you have nothing better to do. I'd give it a five on a scale of one to ten.

10 comments:

jesterat314 said...

Maybe the next book is better.. what did you decide to read next?

AnGeL said...

i heard about it when it was first published and i wanted to read it just to see what's the big deal about it, but i never actually went and got it, let alone read it lol and i think i saw it in english at virgin a while ago but i wasn't interested :p

any who :D let us know what you're reading next i need ideas ;) don't forget you're the one who got me into the whole potter mania so i very welcome your choice :p :D :D

love u, miss u ;*

Delicately Realistic said...

I read the book in arabic when it first came out, it was ok...i actually didnt read the whole thing, i read 2 of the storylines hehehe

And i saw the english version being sold in kuwait...either at virgin or jareer...i think it was jareer.

Amethyst said...

I read it in Arabic. It's overrated.

J o u j a™ said...

i read it in arabic it was nice..
i didnt know they published it in English..

Disturbed Stranger said...

I read it as soon as it was published, it really is a shallow book.
I got a new disturbed collection for the summer... the one I'm readng now is horrifying :) I like...
So what have you been up to? ;)

Big Pearls said...

haven't read it.

F. said...

Jester:The Witch of Portobello
Not excited though...

Angel: I bought a couple of new stuff I'll be reading soon...stay "tuned" or whatever to find out ;P Missing you ;*

Delicately Realistic: Yeah. I can see why

Amethyst: Very

Jouja: I was thinking throughout reading it that the Arabic version might have been better...

Disturbed Stranger: Oh please do share!

Big Pearls: Um, good. I guess.

HQ said...

i hear alot of people talking about it but i never read it

Arabian lady said...

i have read the book , but actually i didn't like it ! its silly according to me =)

 
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