Excellent Daughters: The Secret Lives of Young Women Who Are Transforming the Arab World

Their lives are so incredibly different from ours it is hard to comprehend The author takes us to various counties in the Middle East talking to girls and women in these places and though different

Their lives are so incredibly different from ours, it is hard to comprehend. The author takes us to various counties in the Middle East, talking to girls and women in these places and though different supposed freedoms vary in different countries, most are at the mercy of the men in their lives. Female circumcision, so hard to read, but the one that really got to me was the story of the young girl killed in a honor killing, absolutely heartbreaking because what happened to this girl was not her fault. Other girls at risk for honor killings are put in prison for protection until they are eighteen, shelters for abuse victims do not exist.Although I found the title a misnomer, small strides may exist but I only found larger differences in the Persian gulf. There woman are working though many still follow the strictures from their home societies but do find when going back that even these little freedoms are hard to give up. Many defend the systems they are raised under, considering it disrespectful and against their religion not to do so. Many cannot conceive of any other way. The men seem not to take responsibility for anything, they are allowed unlimited freedoms though some are more tolerant and lenient than others. A very eye opening book, one that is timely with all the attention that has been drawn to the Muslim religion as a whole. Change if it comes to this region will be slow and will have to gain the support of more of the male figures, I fear. This is the first time I have gone back and added something to my review, but this book has really made me think. There are a few things they have that we no longer do, families are very close, often raised within distance of each other and a sense of family is revered. Here, families are often miles apart and it is hard to gather a whole family unit together. Also women time, the women spend much time of course with other women. Here that is often not possible with our busy lives, jobs and other responsibilities. This is not to excuse that seclusion and lack of choices these women face, nor their mistreatment at times at the hand of men but I guess there is a tradeoff, with freedom comes a loss of other things.ARC from Netgalley.Bestseller Excellent Daughters: The Secret Lives of Young Women Who Are Transforming the Arab World Author Katherine Zoepf is Book For than a decade, Katherine Zoepf has lived in or traveled throughout the Arab world, reporting on the lives of women, whose role in the region has never been in flux Only a generation ago, female adolescence as we know it in the West did not exist in the Middle East There were only children and married women Today, young Arab women outnumber men in universitFor than a decade, Katherine Zoepf has lived in or traveled throughout the Arab world, reporting on the lives of women, whose role in the region has never been in flux Only a generation ago, female adolescence as we know it in the West did not exist in the Middle East There were only children and married women Today, young Arab women outnumber men in universities, and a few are beginning to face down religious and social tradition in order to live independently, to delay marriage, and to pursue professional goals Hundreds of thousands of devout girls and women are attending Qur anic schools and using the training to argue for greater rights and freedoms from an Islamic perspective And, in 2011, young women helped to lead antigovernment protests in the Arab Spring But their voices have not been heard Their stories have not been told.In Syria, before its civil war, she documents a complex society in the midst of soul searching about its place in the world and about the role of women In Lebanon, she documents a country that on the surface is freer than other Arab nations but whose women must balance extreme standards of self presentation with Islamic codes of virtue In Abu Dhabi, Zoepf reports on a generation of Arab women who ve found freedom in work outside the home In Saudi Arabia she chronicles driving protests and women entering the retail industry for the first time In the aftermath of Tahrir Square, she examines the crucial role of women in Egypt s popular uprising Deeply informed, heartfelt, and urgent, Excellent Daughters brings us a new understanding of the changing Arab societies from 9 11 to Tahrir Square to the rise of ISIS and gives voice to the remarkable women at the forefront of this change.From the Hardcover edition.. Katherine Zoepf lived in Syria and Lebanon from 2004 to 2007 while working as a stringer for The New York Times she also worked in the Times s Baghdad bureau in 2008 Since 2010, she has been a fellow at New America Her work has appeared in The New York Observer, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times Magazine, and The New Yorker, among other publications She is a graduate of Princeton University and the London School of Economics Originally from Cincinnati, she now lives in Manhattan with her two children.. Popular Ebook Excellent Daughters: The Secret Lives of Young Women Who Are Transforming the Arab World Excellent Daughters is an excellent book. But its subtitle is a bit deceiving. The author, Katherine Zoepf, is an American reporter who has spent a number of years in the Middle East. For the purposes of her book, she spent time in a few Arab countries, where she got to know a number of young Muslim women. She reports on her conversations with them and on her observations of their lives. Her observations are not uniform -- young women have different lives depending on the country they live in and their specific family circumstances. Some of what she reports is horrifying -- honour based violence. Much of what she reports seems unfathomable to me -- young women who are never in the presence of a man except immediate family members until marriage, young women getting university educations who won't have an opportunity to work, young women playing no role in selecting their husbands, young women who need their husband's or father's permission to work or continue with their education or to travel, forced virginity tests, etc... Clearly Zoepf forged strong ties with many of the women she interviewed, and she goes out of her way to make sure that readers understand that they are smart, educated, funny, very kind and respectful to her, and that many of them have no real complaints about their circumstances. She does make reference to some small changes or to a number of individual or groups pushing for change, but it's hard to see that what she depicts lives up to the book's subtitle "The Secret Lives of Young Women Who Are Transforming the Arab World". I didn't get a sense that there's a groundswell of change afoot, or even that Zoepf had tapped into a broiling sense of injustice. On the contrary, with a few notable exceptions, Zoepf seems to mostly have found a fairly set and rigid world. And where there is activism, the resistance to change is tremendous and often even violent. It's not really possible for me to read this book and assess this world Zoepf presents without judgment, but I do appreciate the look the book gives me into the various communities of young women Zoepf got to know. I also appreciate that the only way she could realistically write this book was by forging positive relationships with the women she met and by approaching them with respect and without imposing her own views on them. Zoepf doesn't apologize for anything she discusses, but she is never harsh or explicitly critical; leaving much for the reader to imply and mull over. Thanks to the publisher and Goodreads for an opportunity to read an advance copy of Excellent Daughters.

About Author

  1. Katherine Zoepf lived in Syria and Lebanon from 2004 to 2007 while working as a stringer for The New York Times she also worked in the Times s Baghdad bureau in 2008 Since 2010, she has been a fellow at New America Her work has appeared in The New York Observer, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times Magazine, and The New Yorker, among other publications She is a graduate of Princeton University and the London School of Economics Originally from Cincinnati, she now lives in Manhattan with her two children.

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Excellent Daughters: The Secret Lives of Young Women Who Are Transforming the Arab World Comment

  1. Excellent Daughters is an excellent book But its subtitle is a bit deceiving The author, Katherine Zoepf, is an American reporter who has spent a number of years in the Middle East For the purposes of her book, she spent time in a few Arab countries, where she got to know a number of young Muslim women She reports on her conversations with them and on her observations of their lives Her observations are not uniform young women have different lives depending on the country they live in and their [...]


  2. Their lives are so incredibly different from ours, it is hard to comprehend The author takes us to various counties in the Middle East, talking to girls and women in these places and though different supposed freedoms vary in different countries, most are at the mercy of the men in their lives Female circumcision, so hard to read, but the one that really got to me was the story of the young girl killed in a honor killing, absolutely heartbreaking because what happened to this girl was not her fa [...]


  3. I think some of the situations for women in Islamic countries are known in the West, but here the author, a journalist, allows the reader an inside view of the lives of young women she met in the Middle East over the span of a decade Because she herself was a young woman, not very much older than the unmarried girls she came to know, she was allowed access not available to many She lived in Syria, before the civil war, and in Lebanon a somewhat freer society, yet one in which young women walk a [...]



  4. This is an engaging, readable account of a young journalist s experiences in the Arab world, and particularly the women she met It s not as fascinating or information packed as Geraldine Brooks s fantastic Nine Parts of Desire, which you should absolutely read if you have any interest at all in women s lives in the Middle East But it is fun and informative, a great introduction to the topic And from her writing, Zoepf seems adept at breaking through cultural barriers to connect with individuals, [...]


  5. This was a fascinating glimpse deep into the Arab world Because the author is a woman, she was allowed direct access to numerous Muslim women The genders are so fiercely segregated that a male journalist would have been denied such interaction How far removed are we in western society Of course, one tends to be comfortable in the familiar, but I was struck by the seeming complacency of so many Numerous women are content, even grateful, in their tightly controlled existence The selection of one s [...]


  6. A long review but this book really makes you think Katherine Zoepf isn t alone in that the events of 9 11 triggered a greater interest in the Arab world, but she has made this interest the center point of her career as a journalist In Excellent Daughters, she has written an eminently readable and truly fascinating book where the voices of real people, in particular women, come through on every page She gives women from Syria, Egypt, Dubai and Libya room to put their point of view, to explain and [...]


  7. Since my first two wins from giveaways took place in New Zealand, I uttered that famous Monty Python intro phrase and now for something completely different when I won Excellent Daughters by Katherine Zoepf from New Zealand is a fascinating place and I am delighted to visit it through the pages of a book, but Giveaways was starting to become predictable Excellent Daughters was intermittently interesting, but there were times when I thought Zoepf s comments weren t insightful I don t regret readi [...]


  8. Thank you to NetGalley and to the publisher for allowing me an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.Katherine Zoepf has written a well researched and informative book about the lives of Muslim women The subtitle of the book, The Secret Lives of Young Women Who Are Transforming the Arab World, however, is somewhat misleading Definitely, the lives of these young women are cloaked in secrecy, as is much of Islam to a Westerner, and through the author s interviews the reader is allowed acce [...]


  9. If you desire to read ear witness knowledge for the women, especially young women, of the Arab World, this is the book for you They speak Overall it is a book of opinion, expression, and emotion The author doesn t set herself in their path of discourse too much She does shift them on occasion but does not negate or interpret So getting their context status quo for numerous personal choices especially within the work place or education and other personal factors for their future life direction it [...]


  10. Katherine Zoepf is a journalist who has spent years in Arab countries In this book, she interviews young Muslim women in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Syria.The young Saudi women are upper class, and several either are in college or are going to college One is about to be married They have strong female friendships, but they know that when they are married their husbands can make them end those friendships That has happened to some of their friends.Although the girls want education and professional [...]


  11. I received a copy of Excellent Daughters by Katherine Zoepf from its publishers, Penguin Press, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.Women in Middle Eastern countries aren t often given much of a voice in the European press and media so, when I saw this book by journalist Katherine Zoepf, I was keen to read it Zoepf spent over a decade meeting and talking to mostly young women across the Middle East, discussing their lives education prospects, marriage plans, religion, social interact [...]


  12. I am grateful to BookRiot s 2016 Read Harder challenge, because I may have never read this book without it It was an interesting read it definitely challenged my assumptions and reminded me that there s no one monolithic Middle East Lebanon is very different from Saudi Arabia which is very different from Egypt, and so on So I m really glad I read it for that reason alone However, I do agree with several other GoodReads reviewers that the subtitle is very misleading Zoepf actually seems to come t [...]


  13. I d like to have a word with her editor about that subtitle I started the book imagining I would hear some optimistic tales The Arab world is being transformed, certainly, but I m not sure that young woman are doing much of the transforming or benefiting much at all This was a fascinating look at women s lives and it was inspirational in the sense that living under harsh conditions is inspirational And women find ways to express themselves they are strong willed, opinionated, etc but there is a [...]


  14. Fantastic The average person among us probably feels they have little they can do to affect the way the West and the Middle East interact with each other right now, but I d suggest that what we can do is read books like this one, to learn about how we are all the same and how we are all different and approach these issues from a place of knowledge and awareness.


  15. The Muslim world is known for its gender based discrimination, yet it is rare to hear the voice of the women who live in it The author, a journalist who lived for many years in various Arab countries, tries to explain the traditions and social policies of this world and the expectations on their women.From arrange marriages to higher education, for honour killings to political activism, from female genital mutilation to religious fervour, from the right to pursuing a professional career to weari [...]


  16. Katherine Zoepf reported from the Middle East for the New York Times for several years and, in addition to covering all the standard political and economic noise, gained access and paid close attention to the social world of Arab women This book is the result of her attempt to achieve a sympathetic understanding of a way of life that most of us would find unbearably oppressive and constricted.Conditions vary greatly from country to country in the Arab world, from the apparent relative freedom of [...]


  17. Katherine Zoepf had an interesting opportunity to work in the Middle East post 9 11 She jumped on the opportunity and explored the Middle East through the eyes of the women living there Excellent Daughters is a book where she has written about her experiences and the different cultural aspects of women s lives in the Middle East.As Zoepf has pointed out, being a female journalist allowed her to meet, interact, interview and observe women in the Middle East an opportunity that male journalists ha [...]


  18. 2.5 stars The world changes because of wars and terrorist attacks but it also changes because a daughter makes a slightly different decision from the ones a mother made.The quote above is my favourite from the book not only because it s true but also because my favourite part of Excellent Dughters was that Katherine Zoepf was genuinely trying to show that small, personal changes can be just as important as the big ones that get a lot of media attention.Sadly, I didn t love it as much as I had ho [...]


  19. Author Katherine Zoepf has travelled extensively in the Arab world and met many different women there She s learnt about their lives from the inside and this book is an informative, wide ranging, balanced and sympathetic account of those lives It s certainly not always a positive picture and the sub title of the book The Secret Lives of Young Women who are Transforming the Arab World is somewhat misleading There have indeed been some gains and a few courageous and determined young women are maki [...]


  20. Eye opening view of treatment of women in Syria and Saudi Arabia Saudis don t like men looking at their women but also don t want women working in shops so they had salesMEN in lingerie shops How insane is that Zoepf quotes women s rights activist Wajeha al Huaider all Saudi men pride themselves on their chivalry but it is a contemptuous kind of chivalry the same kind of feeling they have for handicapped people or for animals The kindness comes from pity, from lack of respect To me the mindset o [...]


  21. 2.5 stars I picked this book based on its subtitle the secret lives of young women who are transforming the Arab world so to my disappointment this subtitle was inaccurate and misleading where most of the book Zoepe isn t bringing any new , repeating the same subjects as child marriage, honor killing , guardianship over women , niquab only to speak briefly in the two last chapters and the epilogue about two Egyptian women who were detained by the government during the Arab spring and a Saudi wom [...]



  22. Katherine Zoepf, a journalist, has had the wonderful opportunity to live and travel throughout the Arab world She has seen many changes in the area of women s rights over the past few years She shares her observations in this book.The region has had to adapt to social changes involving young unmarried women, something totally foreign to their culture In their society a woman remains at home with her parents until she marries and moves into her husband s home However now there are numerous unmarr [...]


  23. Excellent Daughters is a very well written, informative narrative on what it is to be female in the Arab world in modern times The author, New York Times reporter Katherine Zoepf has lived in and traveled throughout the Arab world for over a decade, and throughout the book she shares her experiences and conversations with women in a region that is often very misunderstood by Westerners It can be hard for Western women or even men to understand the role of women in Arab countries, but Katherine Z [...]


  24. I will fully admit to going into this book a bit wary I m always a bit nervous to see cultural explorations written by people who aren t of that culture especially if, let s be honest, the person doing the writing is white and the people being written about are not BUT, while this book isn t perfect, Zoepf does a great job of acknowledging her outsider status and the possible influence of her whiteness As a reporter who has been reporting on and living in the Middle East shortly after the Septem [...]


  25. I picked up this book at the library as my Book that was published this year for the Modern Mrs Darcy Reading Challenge I had decided to read it because I had women from Saudi Arabia in my systems engineering masters degree program and I wanted to learn about what their culture is like for women After reading the book, I now better understand why most of the Saudi women in my class were so quiet and reluctant to talk in class and why they always sat together in class In Saudi Arabia, men and wo [...]


  26. This is a fascinating and perceptive look at the challenges facing young women in Arab countries.The author is very circumspect in making her own conclusions on this.Because of the author s carefulness and reluctance to generalize or stereotype, I certainly don t dare to blithely summarize her work after just reading her book, but it is exasperating to me how hard the struggle for women s rights is including not being considered property but humans with civil rights and not being considered seco [...]


  27. In Excellent Daughters, Zoepf gives something of an overview of the state of life for young women in the Arab world She covers a pretty broad range oft necessarily experiences, but environments, from places like Beirut where women can go dancing in skimpy tops and, you know, hold a wide range of jobs and so on to places where, once married, some women virtually never leave the home because they re not allowed to do so.It s useful as an overview I think I d expected to see movers and shakers a f [...]


  28. This is a collection of essays written by a journalist who has spent many years reporting from the Arab world She focuses on women their everyday lives, restrictions, relationships and the complicated ways they are seeking further rights Some of these essays were written over a decade ago, and while she attempts to insert updates, it seemed a bit outdated Otherwise, I found this collection well written and full of interesting details that don t often make it into the Western media She often visi [...]


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