I am shamelessly going to recommend a book written by a friend’s mother.
Brownies and Kalashnikovs: A Saudi Woman’s Memoir of American Arabia and Wartime Beirut
by Fadia Basrawi
Fadia, a Saudi Arab, grew up in the strictly circumscribed and tailor-made ‘desert Disneyland’ of Aramco (the Arabian American Oil Company). This slice of modern, suburban, middle America was located in Dhahran, Aramco’s administrative headquarters in Saudi Arabia, a theocratic Muslim kingdom run according to strict Wahabbi Shari’a law.
Eventually, after only brief holidays abroad visiting relatives in colourful Arab cities like Medina, Damascus and Alexandria, Fadia moved to Beirut, the glitzy ‘Paris of the Middle East’, to attend high school. In Beirut she fell in love with a passionate and idealistic Lebanese journalist with whom she eloped against her parents’ wishes, subsequently getting caught up in Lebanon’s fifteen-year civil war while raising a family of five children.
Providing a fascinating account of a Saudi woman’s painful journey from naive Aramcon girl to life as a resident of a war-torn capital city, this book provides new insight into two very different Middle Eastern worlds about which so little is known by those living outside the region.
The book is currently availabe on Amazon and can be found in major bookstores.
I highly recommend it!