The Caged Virgin

by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

I was curious to read another book by this author after finishing Infidel; have been waiting for it to come off the library hold list. Ended up just skimming through, reading parts that caught my eye. It\’s a treatise on women\’s rights, especially in regards to how they are treated in some Islamic countries. Main topics are how women are suppressed and/or mistreated by men, arranged marriages, genital mutilation, the lack of trust and respect women are given, and their often dismal lack of education. Plus all of the social fallout from the above, in certain cultures and places in the world. And what she suggests we do about it. This is important information, but it can also be dry reading- personally I absorb information better when it is embedded in storytelling. So when the author told about several different women she assisted as a translator among recent immigrants to the Netherlands, I paid attention. When she went into moral philosophy, social criticism and plans of action, I quickly lost focus and began skipping pages. Sorry. I did notice that she included in her book advice and instructions explicit for Muslim women who wanted to run away from their family situation! Kind of a short guideline on what not to do, what to expect, how to plan. I also found interesting a section that went through the ten commandments, and gave her thoughts on each one. Also very interesting her description of the film that caused so much controversy, including the relatively short script for it. Read objectively, it did not seem as offensive as I first imagined- but I cannot really judge, as I haven\’t seen it. I imagine the visual has a greater impact. Likewise I can\’t give a firm opinion on this book, because I didn\’t read it all, just some pages here, some pages there. A lot of it felt repetitive to me. I very recently read her opinion on all the same topics, her stance and her personal stories regarding them, in the previous book (with a lot more detail to the stories) so I suppose that\’s why I couldn\’t stay focused here- not enough new material it seemed.

Abandoned        187 pages, 2004

more opinions: Kulna: For All of Us

anyone else?

One Response

  1. I tend to absorb information better when told in story format too, rather than dry facts or information. I have a feeling I would read this book the same way you did. It sounds interesting on one hand, and the subject matter interests me, but I am hesitant to give this one a try given the flaws you noted.

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