“Joumana Haddad explains her courage as a journalist through her own biography. Yet the book is more than a description of Haddad’s self-liberation and more than a refutation of Western clichés of the oppressed Arab woman. It is above all a call to arms against the dominant structures in the Arab world, mercilessly exposing their hostile stance to women and the body.
Written with equal measures of lifeblood and anger, the essay is almost torn in two, however, by the dialectic between individual liberation and societal oppression. On one hand, Haddad paints a portrait in the autobiographical sections of a liberated woman who knows no taboos, while on the other hand bemoaning the fact that these taboos cannot be overcome.
On one hand Haddad is justifiably outraged at Western clichés, while on the other hand having to admit that many of these clichés hold true, and all women in the Arab world suffer from them, especially the writer herself. On one hand she rightly demands enlightenment for her own society, while on the other hand rejecting the disdainful view from the West that dismisses the Arabs as hopelessly unenlightened.”