Title: Princess - A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia
Author: Jean P. Sasson
Published: March, 1st 2001
Publisher: Windsor-Brooke Books
Sultana isn't like any other princesses in Saudi Arabia. Even from all of her sisters, she is the rebellious and more critical to her society's beliefs and values within the royal family of Al'Saud descendents. Through the American author, Jean Sasson, Sultana retells her life as a Saudi princess, and other untold truth about the uber-religious of Islamic nation.
Using the name ‘Sultana’ as her pen name, she revives the bitter story on arranged marriage practices that happens to most of the underage girls, poligamy, mistreated slave and sexual harassment to foreigners and minors under the very patriarchal culture and strong shariah law. And not to forget, the discrimination towards the females by forcing to wear burqa and no education for girls allowed.
The writer Jean Sasson is really brave and we, especially women, need to give her our biggest applause for her motivation to deliver the truth to the world that there’s still a fact of never-ending women discrimination and harassment in this modern era. Yet, for avoiding dangers that might come to the princess, ‘Sultana’ has to hide her real name within her veil. You won’t find anything Disney princess-alike or fairy tale princess in this book.
Sasson writes Sultana’s story like hers. The way she re-tells the story is like being re-told by Sultana herself directly. Written in nice and simple language, the book completely moves us, the readers, as the story holds the fear that women in Saudi bring along all of their lives to be felt so real. She cracks up the root of the national messed-up culture that comes from discrimination inside the family which leads to competition for a complete love and affection between Sultana and her brother.
Although giving up the worst facts that Saudi Arabia ever had, Sultana doesn’t try to give her country a bad name. Instead, she opens up the invisible gate of secretive lifestyle in Saudi, and tells what’s in need of change and how it should be. Just got published internationally in the 2000s, yet the uncensored truth in this book remains and gives the facts of details about Islam and the whole points of Shariah culture right along when the world needs to see Islam in a different way after the 9/11 tragedy.
Sultana also gives the acknowledgement about her religion. By stating that the uncivilized behaviour comes from the Dark Ages of the Middle East, before Prophet Muhammad came and made a change. Somehow, after the death of Prophet, the life in MidEast has been going back to the Dark Ages, the Jahilliyah.
Not all are bitter ones, Sultana also shares her sweet love story of her arranged marriage, ups-and-downs of her household story. For the love of a father she has been yearning of, Sultana is able to get love from man who later becomes her husband. Sultana fells in love with Kareem, who is still her relative from the royal family and got 3 kids. Sadly, the marriage doesn't go well for her happy ending in the royal life.
The plot will not ever make you bored with the half of complete story of Sultana's memoir. This is a very witty and page-turning one. Each experience Sultana shares in the book would addict you to have some more peeks of behind her veil.
It’s interesting to read Sultana’s point-of view, the youngest princess who used to be considered as the naughty one for her criticism and how she struggles through any cultural barriers. Her amazing personality and perseverance reminds us the soul of Anne Frank. Within the book, it brings up the universal strong value as a woman around the world and how much fight towards discrimination worth for a change. It could inspire us, (once again) especially women, to get up and not to remain as the weak.
I find it not surprising if the book is considered as one of the great books ever written by woman. Bravo!