Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman's Awakening (Hardcover)

Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman's Awakening By Manal al-Sharif Cover Image

Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman's Awakening (Hardcover)


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A ferociously intimate memoir by a devout woman from a modest family in Saudi Arabia who became the unexpected leader of a courageous movement to support women’s right to drive.

Manal al-Sharif grew up in Mecca the second daughter of a taxi driver, born the year fundamentalism took hold. In her adolescence, she was a religious radical, melting her brother’s boy band cassettes in the oven because music was haram: forbidden by Islamic law. But what a difference an education can make. By her twenties she was a computer security engineer, one of few women working in a desert compound that resembled suburban America. That’s when the Saudi kingdom’s contradictions became too much to bear: she was labeled a slut for chatting with male colleagues, her teenage brother chaperoned her on a business trip, and while she kept a car in her garage, she was forbidden from driving down city streets behind the wheel.

Daring to Drive is the fiercely intimate memoir of an accidental activist, a powerfully vivid story of a young Muslim woman who stood up to a kingdom of men—and won. Writing on the cusp of history, Manal offers a rare glimpse into the lives of women in Saudi Arabia today. Her memoir is a remarkable celebration of resilience in the face of tyranny, the extraordinary power of education and female solidarity, and the difficulties, absurdities, and joys of making your voice heard.
Manal al-Sharif is a women’s rights activist from Saudi Arabia who was imprisoned in 2011 for driving a car. She has been lauded by Foreign PolicyTimeForbes, and the Oslo Freedom Forum. Daring to Drive is her first book.
Product Details ISBN: 9781476793023
ISBN-10: 1476793026
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: June 13th, 2017
Pages: 304
Language: English
“A vital, inspiring book.”
— O, The Oprah Magazine

“A brave, extraordinary, heartbreakingly personal story of one woman’s battle for equal rights.... The book provides a rare glimpse into... the hearts and minds of people who live in a society that is mostly off-limits to Westerners. [Al-Sharif's] literary achievement is that despite the huge cultural differences, Daring to Drive shows that Saudi women and men have dreams and fears much like our own.”
— Associated Press

“Future generations will marvel at Manal al-Sharif, whose voice is laden with quiet dignity even at its most urgent. Her gripping account of homegrown courage will speak to the fighter in all of us.”
— Deborah Feldman, New York Times bestselling author of Unorthodox

“An astonishing, humble, truthful book, more illuminating than a hundred newspaper stories on Saudi Arabia. Manal is no Chanel-draped, chauffeur-driven Saudi princess. Her account of why a single working mother’s life compelled her to confront the kingdom’s fiercely patriarchal ways is touching and revealing in equal measure.”
— Azadeh Moaveni, author of Lipstick Jihad

“Al-Sharif’s back story... should shock you even if you think you already have a pretty good handle on conditions for women in Saudi Arabia.”
— Meghan Daum

— Jewish Journal

— Bustle

“Eye-opening... [and] compelling.”

— Christian Science Monitor

“A captivating read. Manal al-Sharif refuses to hide her scars, unveiling what she endured and sacrificed to become a professional who has fearlessly pushed the boundaries of tradition.”
— Elena Gorokhova, author of Russian Tattoo

“There are vignettes of laughter and love... [and] glimpses of rich, vibrant Arab life.... A testament to how women in Muslim countries are helping change their culture, one step at a time.”
— New York Journal of Books

“Fascinating, powerful, and heartbreaking... a truly eye-opening read.”
— Library Journal (starred review)

“Remarkable. Manal al-Sharif invites us to ride with her to bend the arc of history towards equality and justice.”
— Rula Jebreal, international bestselling author of Miral

“If you’re searching for an inspiring memoir, Daring to Drive should be on your must-read list.”
— Bitch Magazine

“For readers who are unaware of the dirty side of Saudi society, Daring to Drive is an eye-opening account of everything the world has missed.”
— Muslim Observer

“Sure to be a summer best-seller.... A great and empowering story.” 
— Tallahassee Democrat

"We can all learn from al-Sharif’s courage and strength; I hope we are the ones who can awaken."
— Washington Independent Review of Books

“Al-Sharif’s transformation from religious radical to feminist champion is incredibly inspiring.”
— BookRiot

Daring to Drive is an important book.... Al-Sharif tells her story in clear, readable prose... [and] provides readers with unusual insight into what it means to be a woman under Wahhabi.”
— Me, You, and Books

“An intimate look at life for women growing up in Saudi Arabia and the challenges of seeking major social change.”
— Booklist

— BookPage

“If you consider yourself interested in women’s rights or the cultures of other lands, Daring to Drive should be a mandatory addition to your reading list.”
— The News Wheel

“An intimate and powerful book from what is hopefully only the first of many Saudi voices to speak out.”
— Kirkus Reviews

Coverage from NPR