Book in focus: NOT WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER

NOT WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER by BETTY MAHMOODY

Betty and Moody come to Iran from the USA with Mahtob, their 4-year-old daughter to meet Moody’s family on a two-week vacation in August 1984. But just when they are supposed to board the flight back to the USA, Moody announces that they are staying in Iran for the rest of their lives. Betty and Mahtob are devastated to hear this and imagine their lives in diametrically opposite cultures to the one they belong. No amount of resistance from them melts Moody. Rather his rage is like never seen before.
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Betty recalls her married life of 8 years with him and the times when she saw signs that this was coming but she wanted to make this marriage work and not end up in another unsettling divorce.
Not Without My Daughter is an autobiographical account of Betty’s struggle and success to get back to the USA along with her daughter in February 1986. The 518 pages of this book throw light on the political, cultural, and educational scenario of Iran during those times and Betty and Mahtob’s constant struggle to escape the clutches of patriarchy.
The book is sure to stir myriads of emotions all through, ranging from anger and hatred for Moody and his countless family members, disgust and helplessness at the filthy conditions in which they live during their stay in Iran, determination to not leave Iran without her daughter, acceptance and hope when people help them in an unknown land and a way out of Iran surfaces through and finally ecstasy at the reunion with their family.
The book is an account of Betty’s grit and success to finally come back and brings out the message “Where there is Will, there is a Way”. She penned down the book to give hope to thousands of females like her who were stuck in Iran during those times.
After a long time, I came across a book that made me choose to read oversleeping. The book is descriptive considering it encompasses 1.5 years of Betty’s life but it could not have been written otherwise or else the reader would not really empathize with the hardships and obstacles that the mother-daughter duo faced.