Daring to Drive
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.

Daring to Drive Details

TitleDaring to Drive
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseJun 13th, 2017
PublisherSimon & Schuster
ISBN1476793026
ISBN-139781476793023
Number of pages304 pages
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Religion, Biography, Feminism, Islam, Adult, Biography Memoir

Daring to Drive Review

  • Diane S ☔
    June 1, 2017
    A comprehensive and honest rendering of a woman's life in Saudi Arabia. For any curious about if what you hear and see on the television is true, this book will astonish, fill in many blanks about living in a country ruled by Sharia law. A country where the religious police are given even more power than the law. The author takes us through her childhood, living in Mecca, her parents, a sister she was often at odds with and her beloved brother. Where a woman is allowed to do so little on her own A comprehensive and honest rendering of a woman's life in Saudi Arabia. For any curious about if what you hear and see on the television is true, this book will astonish, fill in many blanks about living in a country ruled by Sharia law. A country where the religious police are given even more power than the law. The author takes us through her childhood, living in Mecca, her parents, a sister she was often at odds with and her beloved brother. Where a woman is allowed to do so little on her own, where a male family member or guardian must intercede and give approval for the smallest thing, even medical care. Will show how the younger generation is being radicalized​, and the basis for the commitment in Sharia law by this younger group. Some of this I knew but never in such detail. It is almost unbelievable some of the things that are both allowed, and I know most readers will find some of these events shocking. The bravery and the honesty, of this young woman who no longer lives in this county though still maintains close ties there, is awe inspiring. Things are changing, but so very slowly and due to woman such as these who put their lives and happiness on the line for others. A very profound telling, written in a very personal way, I came away with so much admiration for this woman and her strength. A book that makes me realize that no matter how unhappy I am with what is going on in the political arena and onslaught​s on woman's rights, I am still lucky to live in the country I do. It also showed me the importance of defending what we do have and standing up for what we believe.
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  • Abby
    April 10, 2017
    "The rain begins with a single drop."When Manal al-Sharif got behind the wheel of the car she'd spent years making payments on and rode onto the city streets of Saudi Arabia, she was sure she had the law behind her. After all, a woman driving a car is not illegal so much as it is against tradition. Manal quickly learned how very little the legality of it all mattered to the Saudi secret police. She was arrested and thrown into a women's prison with appalling conditions. Like many of her fellow f "The rain begins with a single drop."When Manal al-Sharif got behind the wheel of the car she'd spent years making payments on and rode onto the city streets of Saudi Arabia, she was sure she had the law behind her. After all, a woman driving a car is not illegal so much as it is against tradition. Manal quickly learned how very little the legality of it all mattered to the Saudi secret police. She was arrested and thrown into a women's prison with appalling conditions. Like many of her fellow female inmates, she was never charged with a crime. Manal started to fear she had "disappeared" and would never see her young son again.What begins with the story of breaking the social taboo of driving while female, continues with not just the memoir of al-Sharif's own life, but with a story of womanhood at large in the Saudi Kingdom. The author recounts the humiliating experience of her circumcision, of her mother calling her by her brother's name in public because the mere sound of a female name could incite lust in men, and how her beloved male cousins never saw her again after her first period (she literally wouldn't recognize them today if she passed them on street). Even so, Manal was a fervent fundamentalist in her youth. All day at her girls school, she indoctrinated, told rigid adherence to extreme Islam was the only path to Heaven. She often searched through her family's belongings, destroying anything considered forbidden."It was the younger generation, my cousins, who imposed this level of segregation and religiosity on their elders and set these draconian rules for their parents, rather than the other way around."Al-Sharif's parents didn't always need convincing to strict adherence to Islamic law and custom. Her father beat her mother, as is considered his right, and both, in turn, beat the author and her siblings. But her mother was determined that her children, son and daughters both, would get an education. The father who beat her and denied her in the name of being her male guardian (and having the final word in all matters of her life), drove six hours a day to shuttle her to and fro college. Manal earns a computer science degree and starts working for a Saudi company that operates on a compound immune from the restrictions placed on the country at large. While on the compound, women can drive, forgo the niqab or even the hijab, work with men, and rent an apartment without written permission from her male guardian. But if al-Sharif ever wanted to leave the compound, she would have to hire a male driver. These drivers are often unlicensed and reckless. Fed up, al-Sharif joined a movement called Women2Drive that encouraged Saudi women to take video of themselves driving and post it on social media. It was a turning point for Manal, but she paid a heavy price.This is a really compelling book. It brought to light many aspects of Saudi culture of which I was previously ignorant. I wish Manal the best of luck as she goes forward in her efforts to liberate the women of her country.Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for giving me a copy of this book to review.
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  • Care
    April 22, 2017
    Daring to Drive is a blunt, honest, and captivating memoir that describes Manal al-Sharif's story. al-Sharif tells of her childhood growing up in Mecca where she was educated according to strict religious doctrines and her journey to being imprisoned for driving while female. While not a legal violation in Saudi Arabia, women driving goes against Saudi tradition and is subject to the religious police interfering. al-Sharif was imprisoned in a jail with terrible conditions while the outside news Daring to Drive is a blunt, honest, and captivating memoir that describes Manal al-Sharif's story. al-Sharif tells of her childhood growing up in Mecca where she was educated according to strict religious doctrines and her journey to being imprisoned for driving while female. While not a legal violation in Saudi Arabia, women driving goes against Saudi tradition and is subject to the religious police interfering. al-Sharif was imprisoned in a jail with terrible conditions while the outside news world told egregious lies slandering her. This book is an incredible look into Saudi society and especially the lives of Saudi women. This memoir is incredibly well-written and evocative. Perhaps it's strongest aspect is how upfront and honest al-Sharif is about various aspects of her life, including her own foray into religious extremism and her damaged familial relationships. She provides a full picture of growing up as a girl in Saudi Arabia, telling a compelling and infuriating story of what it means to be a woman in this country. An inspiring read, I recommend this to all mature readers (there are some descriptions of violence and brutality). Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the book in exchange for a fair review!
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  • Kat
    April 15, 2017
    I had the enormous privilege to meet Manal a couple of weeks ago, at the bookstore I manage. Thank goodness the world has strong, determined women like Manal! To be so young & to have gone through so much, standing up for a horrendous patriarchal world (as a whole, & in particular, Saudi Arabia), but still to be lovely, positive, & generous - a true hero. An inspiration for us all.I know the Western world still has a long way to go in terms of the way women still get treated at the h I had the enormous privilege to meet Manal a couple of weeks ago, at the bookstore I manage. Thank goodness the world has strong, determined women like Manal! To be so young & to have gone through so much, standing up for a horrendous patriarchal world (as a whole, & in particular, Saudi Arabia), but still to be lovely, positive, & generous - a true hero. An inspiration for us all.I know the Western world still has a long way to go in terms of the way women still get treated at the hands of men; but the outrageous stories in this book, some simply occurring due to the fact that women are not given the opportunity to get a car license - family members dying as there was only a woman home for example - really serve to put in perspective how far some countries really have to go. A must read, although of course, sadly the people who most need to read it, will be the ones who would rather burn it.
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  • Linda
    January 29, 2017
    Well written and incredibly interesting. First hand account of growing up as a female in modern day Saudia Arabia. Manal al-Sharif details her strict religious upbringing (and period of extremism), schooling, male dominated culture, marriages, and struggle to change some of the inequalities against women (specifically, the ban against women driving). I was surprised to see that, not only were women forbidden from driving STILL, but they also needed a male guardian's permission to do anything. It Well written and incredibly interesting. First hand account of growing up as a female in modern day Saudia Arabia. Manal al-Sharif details her strict religious upbringing (and period of extremism), schooling, male dominated culture, marriages, and struggle to change some of the inequalities against women (specifically, the ban against women driving). I was surprised to see that, not only were women forbidden from driving STILL, but they also needed a male guardian's permission to do anything. It is downright shocking that this is still happening! Kudos to Manal al-Sharif for taking a stand and speaking out against these inequalities.*Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
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  • Jen Malone
    January 26, 2017
    I read this book over a span of time that also included the Women's March and it was both humbling and inspiring to read about the lengths some women (including Manal al-Sharif) are willing to go to advance women's rights. Talk about a role model for how advocacy should work. It really hit me in the gut! But beyond that, my biggest takeaway from this memoir was how much (SO MUCH!) I learned about the Saudi Arabian culture and the "why's" behind so many of the practices and traditions. I closed t I read this book over a span of time that also included the Women's March and it was both humbling and inspiring to read about the lengths some women (including Manal al-Sharif) are willing to go to advance women's rights. Talk about a role model for how advocacy should work. It really hit me in the gut! But beyond that, my biggest takeaway from this memoir was how much (SO MUCH!) I learned about the Saudi Arabian culture and the "why's" behind so many of the practices and traditions. I closed the book vastly more empathetic and informed--I wish this could be assigned reading. I'm certainly going to do my part to shout from the rooftops!
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  • Paulina
    May 4, 2017
    Thanks to 'Simon & Schuster' and Netgalley I was able to read ]"Daring to drive. A Saudi Woman's Awakening" and I feel so excited to share with you my thoughts on this book that will be published in June 13th this year.Manal al Sharif is a woman activist that was named by "Time" magazine 'one of its 100 most influential people of the year. The Oslo Freedom Forum invited her to speak at the annual gathering of human rights activist from around the world at which she received the first ever Vá Thanks to 'Simon & Schuster' and Netgalley I was able to read ]"Daring to drive. A Saudi Woman's Awakening" and I feel so excited to share with you my thoughts on this book that will be published in June 13th this year.Manal al Sharif is a woman activist that was named by "Time" magazine 'one of its 100 most influential people of the year. The Oslo Freedom Forum invited her to speak at the annual gathering of human rights activist from around the world at which she received the first ever Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent. A woman that started campaign called 'I Am Lama' Which helped pass the first Saudi code against domestic violence. A woman I would know nothing about if not this book.About the book:I expected a book about woman that fights for women driving a car in Saudi Arabia. I thought it will be some kind of political book that talks about woman's right to drive in Saudi Arabia and nothing much more than that. However, I was so wrong.⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐I loved this book. It tells as story of a girl that was brought up in the country ruled by strict religious rules. In the country where religious police check if its citizens follow cultural and religious rules and laws. The country where women need their male guardian to apply for a school, rent a flat or even travel and shop. A woman that used to call herself 's radical Islamist.My thoughts:I have been moved by the world behind the walls and veils of every girl or woman in Saudi Arabia. I have been shocked and inspired by Sharif's strength and willingness to help others. In the society strictly controlled by the Salafi school of thought, the strictest that exists in Islam (not accepted by many other Muslims) being a woman that stand for herself is an act to amazing courage. I watched this TED Talk and thought you would find it interesting.Manal al-Sharif: A Saudi woman who dared to drivehttp://go.ted.com/OUpT8g
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  • Melinda
    May 9, 2017
    Daring to Drive is much more than Manal al-Sharif's story of driving in Saudi Arabia. It's a gripping memoir of her life as a Saudi woman, from her birth to a Libyan mother and Saudi taxi driver father in Mecca through her childhood, Salafi years, career at Aramco, marriage, travels outside the kingdom and rise as a feminist activist. From the guardian system to lack of personal ID, Sharif details the ways women are systematically restricted to the domestic sphere. Her picture of women's status Daring to Drive is much more than Manal al-Sharif's story of driving in Saudi Arabia. It's a gripping memoir of her life as a Saudi woman, from her birth to a Libyan mother and Saudi taxi driver father in Mecca through her childhood, Salafi years, career at Aramco, marriage, travels outside the kingdom and rise as a feminist activist. From the guardian system to lack of personal ID, Sharif details the ways women are systematically restricted to the domestic sphere. Her picture of women's status in Saudi Arabia is grim but multifaceted.She offers glimpses of life in her aunt's village, a somewhat freer, greener past (now gone), and of the history of women's activists in the country (all immediately maligned as immoral, foreign agents). As a former Salafi teenager, Sharif understands the ways women can deeply internalize misogynistic and extremist attitudes.At school she was given only one narrative: terrifying visions of eternal suffering in hell for women who fail to live up to ever narrower definitions of piety. Horrified of this fate, Sharif gathers up her beloved drawings and burns them. She polices her family's haram activities — her father's Umm Kulthum cassettes, her mother's fashion magazines, her brother's NSYNC tapes — and burns their belongings on the roof. She feels betrayed by friends who don't wear the niqab outside.Later, as a university student and then Aramco employee, Sharif begins to challenge the role forced upon her, from playing sports to becoming the only woman in her information security division.Her memoir is a compelling read and searing indictment of Saudi patriarchy — possible only because she now lives outside the kingdom's borders.Note: I received an advance reader's copy through NetGalley.
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  • Aisling
    May 8, 2017
    Manal Al-Sharif is a courageous woman. Going up against decades of Saudi cultural norms and demanding her right to basic living conditions and standards, Al-Sharif's story is both highly interesting and a little bit heartbreaking. There is a lot of confusion about Saudi Arabian reality in the western world, where the kingdom is viewed through rose tinted lenses and western governments feebly discuss 'human rights' while getting into bed with the kingdom for its commodities. The result is a damni Manal Al-Sharif is a courageous woman. Going up against decades of Saudi cultural norms and demanding her right to basic living conditions and standards, Al-Sharif's story is both highly interesting and a little bit heartbreaking. There is a lot of confusion about Saudi Arabian reality in the western world, where the kingdom is viewed through rose tinted lenses and western governments feebly discuss 'human rights' while getting into bed with the kingdom for its commodities. The result is a damning human rights record in Saudi, with women scraping the bottom of the rights barrel. Al-Sahrif brings all of that information to light, using stories from her childhood to demonstrate what it really means to be a woman in Saudi and what life is really like for its citizens, from ingrained religious fundamentalism to violent abuse, limited child access rights for women and judgement at every turn. This lady is brave- much braver than I could be. I hope, someday, she triumphs. In the meantime, every man who hates women and every person who hates Islam could do with reading this to learn some crucial lessons about why the world is the way it is- and whose fault that is.
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  • Zoe
    June 1, 2017
    I received this book as a gift just before an overnight trans-Atlantic flight, and ended up reading the entire book cover to cover on the flight. Manal's story is one of tremendous moral courage and of deep reflection about the society in which she was raised, but what struck me most was getting to witness the emergence of Manal's true north. Not many of us are able to find a true north as strong as Manal's, and her commitment to fighting for a woman's right to drive in Saudi Arabia -- even in t I received this book as a gift just before an overnight trans-Atlantic flight, and ended up reading the entire book cover to cover on the flight. Manal's story is one of tremendous moral courage and of deep reflection about the society in which she was raised, but what struck me most was getting to witness the emergence of Manal's true north. Not many of us are able to find a true north as strong as Manal's, and her commitment to fighting for a woman's right to drive in Saudi Arabia -- even in the face of backlash and pushback from her friends, coworkers and the country -- is inspiring. One of the top five books I'd recommend this year.
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  • GONZA
    June 4, 2017
    Review to come!
  • Jill Dobbe
    February 27, 2017
    Daring to Drive is the life story of Manal al-Sharif, a Muslim woman who fought for women's rights in Saudi Arabia, most importantly the right to drive a car. Despite the Saudi women who followed Manal and risked arrest and prison and drove anyway, the law against women driving still stands. It is an insane law, carried out for insane reasons by men who believe driving will lead to prostitution, homosexuality, and loose women. When in reality, women like Manal who live in a difficult society, ne Daring to Drive is the life story of Manal al-Sharif, a Muslim woman who fought for women's rights in Saudi Arabia, most importantly the right to drive a car. Despite the Saudi women who followed Manal and risked arrest and prison and drove anyway, the law against women driving still stands. It is an insane law, carried out for insane reasons by men who believe driving will lead to prostitution, homosexuality, and loose women. When in reality, women like Manal who live in a difficult society, need and must drive for their own survival.Manal's story begins with her arrest for 'driving while female' and is sent to jail. From there readers are given an account of what it was like for Manal to grow up in Saudi Arabia, attend school, live in a devout Muslim household, marry, and work in a male dominated company. Manal learned from a very young age that women had very few rights in Saudi Arabia, and she vowed to work for a more fair society.Having worked in Cairo, Egypt, for two years, books about growing up Muslim in the Middle East have always fascinated me. This book in particular gives extremely accurate accounts of what an Islamist society is like for females. Manal writes openly and honestly and doesn't back down from the truth. She is courageous in all that she does to help right the wrongs toward Saudi females, even while she is threatened, ostracized, and imprisoned. I am impressed by Manal al-Sharif's story and in awe of women like her who are out there in the world working to better the lives of all women who live in male-dominated societies. I highly recommend this well-written and powerful book to those also interested in the Middle East and women's rights. Manal's story is one that will truly live in your mind and heart.I received this book through NetGalley
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  • Neil
    February 25, 2017
    I received a free copy via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.This is a well written story that should scare everyone that women are still treated this way.Please read to have your eyes opened to a totally different world.
  • Kate Southey
    May 4, 2017
    What can I say? Manal al Sharif is a heroine. She has rocketed to the top of my list of people I want to go for coffee with. As the blurb tells us, this memoir tells us of Manal's unexpected brush with fame/infamy when she became involved in the campaign to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia. I am fairly sure if I asked any of my friends here in the U.K. they would say that it is against the law for women to drive in SA. Except it isn't. Against the law that is. It is frowned upon and against What can I say? Manal al Sharif is a heroine. She has rocketed to the top of my list of people I want to go for coffee with. As the blurb tells us, this memoir tells us of Manal's unexpected brush with fame/infamy when she became involved in the campaign to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia. I am fairly sure if I asked any of my friends here in the U.K. they would say that it is against the law for women to drive in SA. Except it isn't. Against the law that is. It is frowned upon and against the strict religious rules that are imposed in the kingdom but it isn't illegal. Manal decided to drive through the streets of Jeddah with a friend and her brother and to film their encounter in order to encourage other women to join the day of action they had planned in a months time. Manal was pulled over, interviewed and released only to be arrested and jailed the next day, charged with the crime 'driving while female'I am a British non driving woman but living in a secular democracy there are no rules on who I can be in a car with, or who I can be all be alone with and what public transport I can use. Put simply I have no idea how lucky I am and I have a great deal less of a need to drive than Manal does where women face being shouted at, spat at or attacked for walking down the street. Quite apart from the driving issue, Manal shines a light on how the Kingdom of SA operates, how her religion affects the way they live and the differences beteeen being a Saudi male and female. These were all things I thought I knew but when you are invited into a family in the way Manal brings her into hers, then you really begin to understand and empathise with someone else's struggles. The relationships Manal had with her parents was wonderful to see, especially how her father was able to move with the times and accept her choices. It seems silly but despite the much more serious and important subject matter, one of the most interesting parts for me was when Manal explained what head coverings Muslim women wear, and why they may choose one option or another. A good book always inspires me to Google something or someone. I have now watched Manal's TED talk, seen the video of her driving and visited the Women2Drive website. All in all this book is incredibly inspiring, and has a lot to tell us in the west about embracing diversity while also flying the flag for our sisters rights in the Middle East. It is a moving family tale, and a reminder to be thankful for every freedom we have.
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  • CL
    April 13, 2017
    ARC received from: NetgalleyRating: 5*One-Sentence Summary: Growing up as a woman in Saudi ArabiaReview: This book gave a fascinating insight into what of the most paradoxical countries in the world - on the one hand there are Saudis competing who can drive the most expensive car and buying into all kinds of Western ideals, on the other hand they won't even recognise women as being their own person and not in need of a male "guardian" to speak for them.I have no shame in admitting that I didn't ARC received from: NetgalleyRating: 5*One-Sentence Summary: Growing up as a woman in Saudi ArabiaReview: This book gave a fascinating insight into what of the most paradoxical countries in the world - on the one hand there are Saudis competing who can drive the most expensive car and buying into all kinds of Western ideals, on the other hand they won't even recognise women as being their own person and not in need of a male "guardian" to speak for them.I have no shame in admitting that I didn't know too much about Saudi Arabia. What I knew was a balance of the stereotyping I hear in the media and a friend trying to tell me it's not as oppressive there as the media makes out any more. I think the media got it right for once!One of the most fascinating things for me was learning that Saudi Arabia went the opposite way to nearly every other country out there: instead of becoming more open and less oppressive in the mid-end 90's, it actually became more dictatorial and it was the younger generation that forced religious extremism on their parents.Manal al-Sharif gives a very honest description of what she went through as a child from regular beatings from her father to female circumcision. Her change from religious extremism to fighting for women's rights was really fascinating to read. Hardly any of us can fathom how anyone could get imprisoned for the crime of being a woman driver. A real eye-opener and reinforced the belief that even if could travel there (which I can't), I wouldn't want to.
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  • Leanne
    April 24, 2017
    This book was absolutely fascinating, at times horrifying and shocking, and an absolute must-read for women. It's amazing how a simple thing like driving, which most of us do every day without much thought, can change a woman's life for the better. The book and the movement are about so much more than driving though.
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  • Emma
    April 20, 2017
    I found this book absolutely fascinating - especially with regard to the Saudi world and how women are treated within it. I was particularly interested in how the author became radicalised and how she found her way out of that mindset. I remember hearing about the Women2Drive campaign when it happened - and wondered at the fact that it had to happen at all.. Ms a-Sharif has no doubt inspired confidence and the willingness in other women to take a stand on this score - and I'd be surprised if not I found this book absolutely fascinating - especially with regard to the Saudi world and how women are treated within it. I was particularly interested in how the author became radicalised and how she found her way out of that mindset. I remember hearing about the Women2Drive campaign when it happened - and wondered at the fact that it had to happen at all.. Ms a-Sharif has no doubt inspired confidence and the willingness in other women to take a stand on this score - and I'd be surprised if not on others!
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