Nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2011
Finalist for Best Non-fiction Book ---North Texas Book Festival 2012
Best Biography--Paris Book Festival 2012
A female expatriate, working in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s, finds a sense of connection where she least expects it.
This is a fast-moving, slightly comic, always fascinating adventure that pulls us directly into the journey. We come to respect and love the mother and son for their unprejudiced outlook and their cool-headed survival of moral police, strict laws, and customs. We come to appreciate Tolstoy’s thoughts on “Mohammedans” as well, as his works are mined for sagacious answers to complex questions.
Written from the inside, Cryer reveals an Islamic world long blurred by Western media. The author presents the Saudi culture at that time with a sensitivity to their need to preserve values and traditions in the face of change. An antidote for Islamophobia with valuable insight into today’s volatile Middle East.
"A good read that presents a new perspective on Saudi life. You meet real Saudis in compelling situations. By one of the first expatriates to see Riyadh with an open mind and heart."
- Ferial Masry, Arab American politico, former ABC News Person of the Week
"This book is a delightful story of a wonderful year spent in the Saudi Arabia of the 1980s. The author and her son had a series of fascinating and at times hilarious experiences that changed their lives. The rich, warm, and vital culture of Saudi Arabia is brought to life and will surprise and inform those about to travel to the Kingdom and those who can only experience it from afar."
- Nancy Gallagher, Chair of Middle East Studies, U. of California at Santa Barbara
"Cryer explores Saudi Arabia of the 1980s with lyrical insight and the generosity of a woman embracing an initially puzzling culture, finally allowing it to transform her."
- Serene Taleb-Agha, Editor-in-Chief, Damazine, Literary Journal of the Muslim World, Damascus, Syria