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Daring to Drive : A Saudi Woman's Awakening
by Manal Al-sharif


Overview - A ferociously intimate memoir by a devout woman from a modest family in Saudi Arabia who became the unexpected leader of a courageous movement to support women's right to drive.

Manal al-Sharif grew up in Mecca the second daughter of a taxi driver, born the year fundamentalism took hold.  Read more...


 
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    Daring to Drive (Paperback)
    Published: 2018-06-12
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    $16.00
     
     
 
 

More About Daring to Drive by Manal Al-sharif
 
 
 
Overview
A ferociously intimate memoir by a devout woman from a modest family in Saudi Arabia who became the unexpected leader of a courageous movement to support women's right to drive.

Manal al-Sharif grew up in Mecca the second daughter of a taxi driver, born the year fundamentalism took hold. In her adolescence, she was a religious radical, melting her brother's boy band cassettes in the oven because music was haram forbidden by Islamic law. But what a difference an education can make. By her twenties she was a computer security engineer, one of few women working in a desert compound that resembled suburban America. That's when the Saudi kingdom's contradictions became too much to bear: she was labeled a slut for chatting with male colleagues, her teenage brother chaperoned her on a business trip, and while she kept a car in her garage, she was forbidden from driving down city streets behind the wheel.

Daring to Drive is the fiercely intimate memoir of an accidental activist, a powerfully vivid story of a young Muslim woman who stood up to a kingdom of men--and won. Writing on the cusp of history, Manal offers a rare glimpse into the lives of women in Saudi Arabia today. Her memoir is a remarkable celebration of resilience in the face of tyranny, the extraordinary power of education and female solidarity, and the difficulties, absurdities, and joys of making your voice heard.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781476793023
  • ISBN-10: 1476793026
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publish Date: June 2017
  • Page Count: 304
  • Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Social Activists
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Women
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Cultural Heritage

 
BookPage Reviews

A pioneer for women's rights tells her story

Manal al-Sharif’s memoir Daring to Drive opens with a chilling sentence: “The secret police came for me at two in the morning.” Al-Sharif is questioned for hours and then jailed in a filthy, overcrowded women’s prison. Her crime: driving her brother’s Hyundai, because in Saudi Arabia, women do not drive. Without a male guardian, Saudi women can’t rent an apartment, take out a loan, get an ID or register a child for school—and they can never drive, not even to take a sick child to the ER. Saudi religious police enforce a harsh array of laws and customs—women must cover their bodies completely, and unrelated men and women must never mix.

Al-Sharif gives a compelling account of her impoverished, sometimes violent upbringing in Mecca, and of her schooling, where teachers beat students for trivial infractions and religious studies were paramount. She describes the wave of fundamentalist fervor that swept through Saudi Arabia in the late 1970s, imposing increasing limits on women. It is within this rule-bound atmosphere that al-Sharif transforms from fundamentalist teen to a college student studying computer science. She then becomes the first woman in information security at Aramco, the Saudi oil company (originally an American consortium). At Aramco, she interacts with men and lives in Western-style housing. It is her work at Aramco, along with an exchange year in New Hampshire, where she learns to drive and befriends non-Muslims, that leads to her quest to drive in Saudi Arabia and eventually to her calling as a women’s rights activist.

Al-Sharif writes with simplicity, and despite its bleak moments, Daring to Drive moves along quickly. She shares some lovely moments, such as her childhood visits to her rural grandparents, whose lives seemed far freer than her own, and the sports she secretly played in college. She shares her hopeful motto—“the rain begins with a single drop”—which also describes a nation that’s moving forward by the tiniest of increments.

This article was originally published in the June 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews