Not Without My Daughter: A True Story of a Mother's Courage and Escape from Iran
Not Without My Daughter is a biographical book by Betty Mahmoody detailing the escape of Betty and her daughter, Mahtob, from Betty's abusive husband in Iran. The book was published in 1987 and became a bestseller. It was also adapted into a film starring Sally Field and Alfred Molina in 1991.
The book tells the story of how Betty, an American citizen, married Dr. Sayyed \"Moody\" Bozorg Mahmoody, an Iranian-born physician who had moved to the United States. In 1984, when their daughter was four years old, Betty reluctantly agreed to accompany her husband on a two-week vacation to Iran in order for his family to meet Mahtob. However, once they arrived in Tehran, Moody revealed that he had no intention of returning to America and wanted to raise his daughter as a Muslim in Iran. He also became increasingly abusive and controlling towards Betty, who was subjected to the harsh laws and customs of the Islamic Republic.
Betty soon realized that she had no legal rights or protection as a woman in Iran, and that she could not leave the country without her husband's permission. She also feared for her daughter's safety and future, as Moody threatened to take Mahtob away from her or marry her off to a stranger. Betty decided to risk everything and plan a daring escape with the help of some sympathetic Iranians who were part of an underground network that helped foreigners flee the country. After 18 months of living in fear and captivity, Betty and Mahtob managed to cross the border into Turkey and eventually return to the United States.
Not Without My Daughter is a gripping and inspiring memoir that exposes the reality of life under a repressive regime and celebrates the power of a mother's love and determination.Reviews and Reception of Not Without My Daughter
Not Without My Daughter received positive reviews from critics and readers who praised Betty's courage and writing style. The book was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and became a bestseller. Many readers found the book to be a gripping and harrowing read that was unputdownable[^1^]. Some reviewers also appreciated how Betty detailed the kindness of the people who helped her escape[^1^].
However, the book also faced some criticism and controversy. Some critics accused Betty of exaggerating or fabricating some aspects of her story in order to protect those who aided her and her daughter in their escape[^3^]. Some also claimed that Betty portrayed Iran and Islam in a negative and stereotypical way, and that she demonized her husband and his family. Some Iranians and Muslims felt that the book was biased and offensive, and that it contributed to the negative image of Iran in the West.
The book also sparked a legal battle between Betty and Moody, who denied abusing his wife and daughter and accused Betty of kidnapping Mahtob. Moody sued Betty for defamation and custody of Mahtob, but he lost both cases. Moody also wrote his own version of the story in a book titled Lost Without My Daughter, which was published in 1992. In his book, Moody claimed that he loved his wife and daughter and that he wanted them to stay in Iran because he feared for their safety in America.
Not Without My Daughter remains a popular and influential book that has inspired many other memoirs and films about women's rights and cross-cultural conflicts. The book also raised awareness about the plight of women and children in Iran and other countries where they face oppression and violence. The book is a testament to the power of a mother's love and determination to overcome any obstacle. 061ffe29dd