After "reading" two wonderful first-hand accounts of life in the Middle East -- Reading Lolita in Tehran, by Azar Nafisi, and Naked in Baghdad, by Anne Garrels -- I was looking forward to getting an insider's view of Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, this felt more like the work of an author who wanted to capitalize on her (in)famous last name and in the process, throw some zingers at her ex-husband and his family after a bitter divorce. The fact that women in Saudi Arabia have to wear veils and can't interact with men to whom they aren't related isn't news; neither is the fact that Saudi society isn't friendly to women, Christians, or Westerners. And after hearing all through the book about the extravagant lifestyle she and her husband lived -- hobnobbing with foreign diplomats, putting in tennis courts at their private compound, haute couture wardrobes, chartered jets, European vacations, etc. -- it sounds absurd when she finally gets around to mentioning the Saudi royal family (near the end of the book) and expresses horror at their "decadent lifestyle". If you want an Arabic version of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous", this is the book for you, but if you're looking for insight into Middle Eastern culture, you won't find much of it here.
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