Not Without My Daughter

The other day in the library, Betty Mahmoody’s Not without my daughter’ caught my eye. I had read it a few years back, but wanted to read it again, yes, I am one of those mad people who re-read books.

The last time I read it, it had moved me, but this time, I was practically in tears. I guess being a mother made me feel what she was feeling much, much more.

The mere thought that someone who you trust(or had trusted), enough to have a child with him, could turn out to be so different and would not think twice before taking away your child from you, is devastating, isn’t it? We dread anything that might take our children away from us, but how would we react when someone as close as your husband decides to do it? And even worse, when he takes you to a country where a woman has practically no say in anything at all. Where a child is always a man’s property. For a while, she was praying for her husband’s death, only to realise that on his death, her child would he his family’s property – not hers! She says, she stopped praying for that as soon as she realised that.

Betty’s chilling tale of how she managed to escape the country with her daughter,Mahtob, will stay with me for a long time. Her determination to leave with her daughter. The embassy in Iran gives her the option to leave without her daughter, which she refuses. She stays determined to leave and leave with her daughter. She explains towards the end how while in the US, she had seen another side to her husband, Moody. She had checked divorce as an option, but had backed when she realised that divorce would give her husband visiting rights at the very least, to her daughter. She decided that she had to take the risk and take her daughter to Iran at least once so that Mahtob is safe forever.

Trapped in Iran, with no friends or help, at times imprisoned in her house by Moody, she wonders if she did take the right decision. Thankfully for her, it all turned out well,in the end. It does make me wonder about how many women go through similar experiences, in countries across the world. Even in countries where laws are equal and fair, things like this could happen if the woman is not strong enough or independent enough. Betty had met another American woman in Tehran, who had accepted her fate and chose to be with her abusive husband in Iran, because she felt that she could not manage on her own, given her lack of educational qualifications.

In so many cases, in our own society, women are held hostage(so to speak) in marriages they are not happy in. While they might not be imprisoned in a physical sense, they are held captive by their lack of confidence, qualification or just the lack of societal support.

The book is thought-provoking in so many levels. It made me thank my luck that I was born where I was.

19 thoughts on “Not Without My Daughter

  1. I had heard about this book earlier and knew the plot of the story. You have written the review with full of emotion, Smitha. Yes, many people who are in our own country are going through/put up with, bad marriages without any opposition because of lack of education and societal support as you have said here.

    Yes, it is sad, and it was quite an emotional read.. The kind of troubles that she faced, and how she managed to escape.. Anyone less determined would have given up..

    The review itself is making me sad, Smitha.

    It was a sad book, although in the end it felt wonderful that she managed to escape with her daughter.

  2. Wow, no not for this post but for the number of posts you’ve written while I was missing.

    And now on this book review, sounds really nice coz. I know how much I’ve changed after becoming a father so I know how different it would be for you reading this book again after you’ve become a mother.

    But these days, I’ve got my shelf full with a lot of books 🙂

  3. I have read so much about this book..I think I am going to pick this one up as next read.
    Your review is full of emotion, it seems you got totally involved in the story as a mother :-), Doesn’t everything change after becoming a parent Smitha?

  4. I’ve read about this book. I’m definitely going to buy this when I’m in India next.

    You know a similar incident happened here as well. The only difference is the woman( I think she is an american, dont remember well) is a widow. She was tricked by her in-laws to come to Qatar with her son on the pretext of signing some property papers and now they have taken away her son. She refuses to go back without her son and the case is still pending in court.

    Cant imagine how helpless and she must be. But hats off to her will and courage! I hope she gets to be with her son soon.

  5. If it brought u to tears, then let me prepare myself before trying to read this one.

    Oh it is a very moving book. But do read it, it is a must read!

  6. Where is the cover of this book ??? Thats the only stuff I like in book reviews !! 😀 😀 😀

    You know what, you women are lucky !! Every third book (out of all the book reviews in the blog) is about the struggle a woman goes through in her life !! Damn, isnt there anyone to write on us or what ??? 😀 😀 😀

  7. Wow!! What a book, and what a good review too. I must lay hands on this now. But what do I do with that pile of unread books, Smitha?! How do you manage to get your reading done? Pliss to share the secret!!!

  8. Very moving story… Want to read this one…
    But when i am going to read… SIGH
    Thought this is a post about poohi… But 😦 no worries… Schedule the next post about her 🙂

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