Manal al-Sharif: Daring to Drive

Sharif’s memoir begins with the incident in which she was picked up and sent to jail for the crime of “driving while female.” Then she takes us back to her painful past when she faced domestic violence, genital mutilation, and extreme isolation. She writes:

The censorship of books left no survivors. Political writings, historical narratives, even romance novels—any type of book considered to conflict with the prevailing extreme Salafist doctrine—was banned. Students in other countries might rebel against the madness, but the widespread illiteracy of our parents and the manner in which we were taught—dictation without discussion, memorizing and repeating without analysis or criticism—molded and subjugated us in such a way that we became domesticated and tame. We were like captive animals that had lost the will to fight. We even went as far as to defend the very constraints that they had imposed upon us.

It’s a stirring, eye-opening read.