5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating
I was fully engrossed in the reading of this book. I am usually not much of a reader, but once I picked this book up, I couldn't put it down. I knew I wanted to read this book when I heard Norma speak about it on the radio. It touched me in many ways. I hope she continues with her work for women's rights and that she finds inner peace.
Published on June 17 2003 by edie082760
3.0 out of 5 stars Forbidden Freedom!
This book is more than the story of a forbidden love. It is about freedom denied to both men and women trapped inside ancient tribal laws and traditions. There were many times when I was ready to close the book and throw it away. It is a very disturbing story and not easy reading- it made me feel sick! I can just imagine how difficult it must have been for the author to...
Published on July 15 2003 by ashgrovie
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2.0 out of 5 stars A Christian Verdict: An Embarrassingly ill-informed book.,
By A Customer
I am a 'Western' Catholic man living in Jordan. Quite honestly, coming from a fellow Catholic, this book is an embarrassment. I can hardly recommend it to my Muslim friends. Even the most open-minded of them will be upset by its content. It is so inaccurate and unfair towards the culture and religion of my Muslim friends.
For someone whose 'sister' was Dalia, a Muslim, the author's lack of Islamic facts and knowledge is shocking. Some sections of her book could have been written by zealots from the Spanish inquisition. It is so hurtful to Dalia's memory who was Muslim.
For a start, honour killings are NOT a Muslim phenomenon, they happen worldwide. For example, throughout the Muslim world, people believe that Princess Diana was killed in Paris because she loved a Muslim: Dodi El Fayed. Should we then classify her death as an honour killing? This book is going to stir (and of course exploit) anti-Islamic feelings in the West. Paradoxically, in the Muslim world, anti-Christian feelings will be stirred too. 7/ If I, as a practicing Catholic living in Jordan, cannot believe entirely the events of this book leading to the death of Dalia, how can the author expect the Muslims worldwide to believe it and join her in a crusade against honour killings?
This book has disappointed me greatly and has not done Dalia justice...
For a more objective study of honour killings, WORLDWIDE, you are better off using the internet. I was amazed by the quantity and quality of the data I gathered from various websites.
Finally, although I am a Catholic and Dalia was a Muslim, I feel compelled to say:
'Bless her soul, dear Lord, for she has been wronged!'
I may be biased-I give this book 2 stars to encourage my fellow Christian author to show more objectivity in her future writings.
5.0 out of 5 stars ...chilling account,
By A Customer
I would like to express to Miss Khouri how moved I was by her reading last evening at Barnes and Noble in NYC.
I was almost brought to tears during the chilling account of her last moment with Dalia. I was touched by her love for her friend. The somber sound of her voice and emotions while reading left me filled with grief and thoughts of those who I love dearly. It makes her story all the more tragic in realizing that finding love for another person in this world is rare and having it taken away in this manner is an atrocity. I think her bravery to appear in public with this story is a testament of her love for Dalia and belief that change must occur. When she exclaimed that is a dream for her to one day return to Jordan, I realized the seriousness of her actions in writing this book.
I believe that slavery comes in many forms. However Miss Khouri's book reveals that the common shackles of slavery, among all forms, is the control of someone else's thoughts and feelings. I hope Dalia's story is taken seriously by the world and results in a consorted effort to address the generations of men who are caging their wives, daughters and sisters with this antiquated and perverse way of thinking.
I wish her luck on her journey.
5.0 out of 5 stars Jean Sasson recommends this book.,
By A Customer
This is a passionate read about the loss of Norma Khouri's best friend to a primitive custom that defies all rational thought. This true story will break your heart, leading you on a mission to work to ensure such crimes do not go unpunished.
For the sake of humanity, I recommend this book with as much enthusiasam as I can possibly muster. Jean Sasson
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible book,
By A Customer
Ms. Khouri's story is harrowing and deeply upsetting- what struck me more than the revelation of what happened to Dalia, is the power of the friendship between these two women. This book is a must read.
2.0 out of 5 stars Good as memoir/bio, but fails in socio-political context,
This non-fiction book is a recounting through one woman's perception of the true-life events that led to her best friend's honor killing in Jordan. The writer is clearly young and only recently published, but that shouldn't detract from the "plot" or tension you feel as you follow its chain of events. If you know anything about what Westerners call "honor killings" (murder by relatives of a "fallen" sister, daughter, or niece whose chastity or reputation is suspect), the sequence of events as Khouri recounts them should ring vaquely and eerily familar: chaste Arab (or Pakistani or Egyptian or Afghan --substitute your choice of Easterner) girl meets cute boy, they get to like each other (watch out--big brother's lurking in the shadows, scrutinizing your reputation...and his), they make plans to one day be together, (brother, father, and uncles are acting strange lately), girl's mutilated body is found, murderers get parole or get off--so, I guess the ripped-from-the headlines story is not surprising to many readers, is it?
The writing is not literary--this is clearly a young woman's tribute to her slain friend. However, the dialogue is re-created or created very realistically, as though a first-time screenwriter was crafting a script rather than a young girl recalling scenes from a painful past. Khouri is also knowledgeable about her country and city, their inhabitants, the landscape and geography, and nomenclature. She throws in little interesting facts and opinions like "The city of Amman, Jordan is named for..." and "the difference between a Muslim and a Christian wedding in Jordan is the reception..."
Of course, the content is emotional and my eyes teared up a little even though I don't cry too easily (especially when reading). Khouri's authorial voice is authentic, fresh, and confident while maintaining an appealing post-adolescent vulnerability. You'll feel emotionally satisfied or vindicated or in some way moved by this book. So it is A GOOD BOOK. on it's own. But when you step back a little...
Khouri and I have a lot in common. We are both native Arabic speakers, females in our twenties, and part of traditional Christian families suffering persecution in our homelands. But Khouri spent all of the first half of her life enclosed in her native Jordan, while I had the freedom to move between both my homeland and the West enough to learn a lot about each. This clearly colors my attitude toward her book's message and context. In my own way, I'm as biased as she.
Khouri's story is tragic and true, but her agenda is too predicatable and too clear-cut. The book has been marketed toward the sympathetic West, readers in Europe, the Americas, or Oceania who will read this book, feel horrified or vindicated, cry "how terrible!" or "I knew it!" and run to a NPO to MAKE A DIFFERENCE in Arab women's lives. (Alternately, certain other readers will use the book as yet another example to help villify all darkies and our backward cultures). Euro-Americans or others so inclined will above all feel vindication after having read this--and vindication can be a dangerous feeling.
I know a lot of Eastern boys and girls like the self Khouri presents in her book. They're like Pocahontas in Disney's movie, shut off from "civilization" and breathlessly wondering what's "just around the riverbend."
I'm sure they feels their lives are so much better now for living in the "Free World,"~ and their lives probably are, but they are left with an underlying antipathy towards their birth cultures, and this inevitably colors everything they write--and you read--about it.
When Khouri writes about the Bedu (Bedouin) culture she sees as the heart of Jordanian Arab religion, society, and interaction, I detect an underlying sense of dread and disgust. She places relatively neutral lines like $Q
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad fiction for a good cause,
As an Arab, Jordanian, Muslim woman educated in the West and living in the heart of Amman, Jordan, for the past 20 years, I was astonished at Ms. Khouri's attempt at portraying Jordanian women as being subservient to the men in our families and society. Her sweeping statements about the status of women in this country, in addition to her similarly-sweeping statements about our culture, heritage and religion(s), are so extremely misleading -- and often outright false -- that one wonders about the author's real agenda. I am extremely disappointed that such an important issue as the murder of women and girls done in the name of honor has been degraded into such bad fiction. Honor crimes do exist in Jordan, as in other parts of the region. It is by no means excusable under any circumstances and any pretexts. And it is no secret these murders happen. Jordanian women activists have been at the forefront of fighting these crimes and continue to do so relentlessly. They continue to fight for women's civil rights, and achievements, as slow as they may be, are being made in that direction.
So, NO, not all, not even most, women here are subservient or stay in the kitchen. Walk in the streets of Amman and go to its restaurants, cafes and clubs and you will see that half are women, some veiled, some not. Go to any government institution or private company, and you will see a substantial percentage of the work force are women. It is truly insulting that Ms. Khouri gives the impression, through her book, that we are slaves, mindless, helpless creatures, who have only two choices: Either live as slaves at home in Jordan, or escape to the West to be free. That is far from the truth.
Ms. Khouri's book, which she claims to be a true story about her Muslim best friend's brutal murder by her father because she loved a young Christian man (which she often refers to as "Catholic," very unusual reference to Christians here), is so packed with false information, including important and unimportant details, that one wonders about the credibility of the whole story.
Examples: -- The writer does not know the countries that border her own country? She included Lebanon and Kuwait as bordering Jordan. They don't. -- At one point, Ms. Khouri writes that her brother gave her a 50-dinar bill. There were no 50-dinar bills in 1996, and only came out after King Abdullah assumed the throne in 1999. -- She writes her father was shocked to see a man (taxi driver) at her front door waiting to be paid the fare, repeatedly complaining about how strict her and her best friend, Dalia's, fathers and brothers were, not allowing them out of the house without a chaperone, not allowed to speak to men, etc. But yet, these very same backward men allow them to open a unisex hair salon where men can come and go as they please and have their daughters cut men's hair? It just doesn't fit, and certainly not in the lower-middle class area of Jabal Hussein. If their fathers and brothers were so concerned about their "family name," they would NEVER have allowed them the luxury of opening a unisex salon. -- The Islamic Action Front did not have a majority in Parliament when the National Assembly rejected revoking the law that gave lenient punishment to the killers of women. In fact, the Islamic Action Front boycotted these parliamentary elections and not one single member was in the National Assembly at the time. Or was this piece of misinformation slipped in to blame the Islamic movement for parliament's unjust decision?
The list is endless, and that's why I question the credibility of the whole story and on an issue that is so important to many of us.
Ms. Khouri is clearly a fiction-writer, though not a very good one. And I urge NO ONE to read it, unless you want to waste your time, like I did.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read.,
Yvonna's review (see below) is inconsiderate to say the least. In my view, this book raises important issues about the concepts of honour killings, and women as property. Who cares if the book may not be 100% factually accurate? The fact remains, that honour killing is a very serious issue which deserves serious consideration from the human rights perspective. If you're out to pinpoint inaccuracies, Yvonna, try the dictionary instead. Less frustrating that way.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Critical Muslim Review of 'Honor Lost',
I am a Muslim who once fell foul of our 'traditions' which are alien to Islam. So I was eager to read Norma's book who also lost her friend Dalia to traditions. But, sadly, I feel disappointed. I couldn't recognise the society I was born into, in her book.
By seeking 'revenge' and the Western readership, self-consistency, accuracy and objectivity were discarded: Dalia's tragic life has been so 'westernised' that it reads -sometimes- like a Middle-Eastern Mills & Boon saga!
Even as a Muslim, it was hard for me to peel off its thick Western makeup to evaluate its content thoroughly. Within less than 1000 words, I'll raise only 5 illustrative points, with no spoilers.
First, Norma and Dalia grew up TOGETHER in the same society. So when Norma says she was helping match Dalia with Michael, didn't she realise she was unwittingly putting Dalia in harm's way? Dalia's demise was so predictable! Does Norma feel blameless? Did the Catholic affinity between Norma and Michael play a role? How crucial was Norma's involvement and matchmaking?
Secondly, we are told Michael 'courted' Dalia for more than a year at HER OWN RISK. If he loved her THAT MUCH, why didn't he embrace Islam and marry her? He would NOT have been the first convert in Jordan which is a man's world where -also- being an army officer counts! Actually, an English friend embraced Islam to marry his Muslim love: such cases are becoming common! Dalia would be ALIVE TODAY if Michael did so, but he didn't! This 'relationship' looked more like a platonic friendship from HIS part.
Thirdly, to promote the book, a Sunday magazine published a photo of Dalia and Norma that casts serious doubts on crucial events. What struck me -apart from her arresting beauty- is Dalia wearing HIJAB, the religious scarf worn by practicing Muslim women (Norma confirmed it). One of my sisters wears hijab so I know its significance. As anyone acquainted with Islam knows (Muslim or otherwise, including Norma therefore), by wearing hijab, Dalia's message was clear: To her, ALLAH was her ULTIMATE choice in her life, above all people (including her family) and in all matters (including love and marriage); hence her 5 daily prayers and her intact virginity. We practicing Muslims do not believe in extra-marital sex or marry outside our faith. So, to please Allah, she could NOT have married Michael UNLESS he embraced Islam, even if her parents allowed it. Their mixed marriage is contrary to whom Dalia wanted to please by wearing hijab: GOD NOT MICHAEL! Therefore no 'love conquers all' from HER part, either! Where does this 'forbidden love' come from then?
Fourthly, an example of how Western makeup was applied to Dalia's story: after her death, Norma asked Michael if Dalia was still a virgin. Such a question is unimaginable because Dalia was a devout Muslim and Norma KNEW that, since she was her LONG-LIFE friend and 'sister'. It seems, to 'spice up' her book for the Western market, she has ended up insulting Dalia's memory, thereby negating her book's declared aim: To avenge Dalia.
Finally, the other publicised point is: Dalia died because she 'dared to love a Christian'. Yet the book itself led me to believe otherwise.
Indeed, excluding rape, honour killings happen for ONE reason: When the daughter defies her parents' will and acts on her own accord. Whether this defiance is real or imaginary is irrelevant-all what is needed for murder is a suspicious and paranoid mind.
At home, I heard of such murders: A father chose for his daughter a husband but she refused him as she loved someone else, so he killed her for 'shaming' him. He was jailed, quite rightly! She was killed despite the fact her choice and her father's are BOTH Muslims.
PERSONALLY, I lost my first love because she was forced to marry her cousin to whom she was 'promised' at birth. Yet again, her family, her cousin and I are ALL Muslims.
So, bearing in mind what I know about my society of origin (similar to Dalia's), what happened to me and finally the book content itself, I have to conclude Dalia was not killed because Michael was Christian but mainly because she didn't tell her family about her innocent friendship with him; which became consequently in her father's paranoid mind a full-blown 'love story' he did NOT sanction BEFOREHAND for HIS daughter.
If Michael's religion were the issue, Norma's Christian parents would have taken offence and protected their daughter. Yet, to launch the book, so much has been made of Norma threatened by her OWN family for shaming them before Dalia's family!
Consequently, Michael's Christianity was a far lesser concern than the MAJOR social crime of a daughter (Christian or Muslim) acting independently behind her family's back. THIS IS WHY DALIA DIED AND NORMA WAS THREATENED FOR THE SAME REASON: THEIR FATHERS' TRUST SEEMED BETRAYED!
Ironically, if Dalia's family hated Christians, she would be ALIVE TODAY: They allowed her -with the Catholic Norma- to run a salon where unknowingly her fate was sealed.
In truth, a book about Dalia dying 'for loving a Christian' appeals to the West BUT one about her dying for disobeying her father doesn't. The winning commercial formula is obvious: it relies on the anti-Islamic prejudices and ignorance of the secular AND religious West. Yet, 2 out the 4 participants in this tragedy are Christians! The trumpeted 'forbidden love' story construed, out of an innocent friendship, is a needed red herring and Western market ploy!
But to someone, like me, born into and victim of Dalia's world too, this book simply DOESN'T stand scrutiny.
As Dalia cannot comment, it would be enlightening to read Michael's version of the events.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars honestly, what would a man know?,
For a man to rant on and on about how wrong Norma Khouri is, how racist she is, and how she knows nothing of the topic of her life, is obnoxious and disgusting. I suppose as a western man VISITING an Arab family, they told you all about the deep religious and traditional values they hold over women. As a western man, I suppose you had to walk around shaperoned under pounds of heavy black material so that people could ignore your existance. Frankly, I am suprised that such an obvious redneck managed to finish the book and write a review about it. Your comments enforce the message that Norma is trying desperately to spread: the world needs to open their eyes and understand that this it is not right to treat women this way. Congradulations Norma on a heart-wrenching job well done!
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Honor Lost: Love and Death in Modern-Day Jordan by Norma Khouri (Paperback - Feb. 3 2004)
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