Subtitled, Tales of a Harem Girlhood, this is a most fascinating tale of the realities of a Moroccan harem. Most Westerners take the word harem and think Turkish harem - hundreds of women floating around large tiled rooms waiting to serve the lord and master. Mernissi, a western schooled sociologist, feminist, and scholar, takes us into the life of a young girl born into a family in Fez (in Western Morocco) in the 1940's. Her harem is not the rooms of I-Dream-of-Jeannie look-alikes but rather the complex social structures of the Moroccan/Muslim family in the middle of this century. Her harem is the world of women, daughters, mothers, aunts, and grandmothers who live 'inside' the urban home (but interestingly, live more freely out on the country farm). We learn about the feelings she and her brother (with whom she is close) experience when they come of an age to be separated; he relegated to the world of the men, and she to the hidden world of the harem. Mostly, though, this beautiful book tells the stories of the women in Fatima's harem who have dreams and fantasies (that will never come true), including the dreams of trespass into the outside world, the world of men. After having worked in Morocco in the early 1990s, I could see that much has changed for Moroccan women, but thoughout the Arab world there still exist plenty who still have those dreams of trespass.