Feb 12, 2008

Princess Sultana's Daughters

by Jean Sasson

This book picks up where Princess left off. The cover page states: "A Saudi Arabian woman's intimate revelations about s-x, love, marriage and the fate of her beautiful daughters." It seemed to me there was more about the traditions, customs, religious beliefs and societal woes of a Muslim country than the story of her family, per se. I certainly learned a lot more about Muslim culture in this book. There are several chapters in particular describing a family pilgrimage to Mecca. The heightened conflicts of religious and social ideas were expressed in her own family's division: one of her daughters became a religious fundamentalist, preaching to and condemning family and friends. The other reacted to her horror of how men treated women by engaging in a love affair with a female friend. The beliefs and actions of her daughters were very distressing to Sultana as a mother. Just like in the previous book, Princess Sultana's Daughters describes many injustices and abuse experienced by women in Saudi Arabia. Although I admired Sultana's cause, I found myself uneasy about some of the means she used to promote her ideas and defend other women: verbal insults, hysterics, physical assaults, even blackmail and petty theft. Perhaps these were the only way to get results when her life was so controlled by men, but all this alongside the tales of scandals and scenes of high drama made me feel at times like I was reading a soap opera.

I just now found these two articles which may be of interest. Claims were made that Sasson is guilty of plagiarism and that Princess Sultana is a fictitious character. I don't know if that's true, and it doesn't make me like the books any less; but it does make me wonder if all the atrocities described in these books actually happen to women in Saudi Arabia. Some of them are just too horrible to mention.

*My information about the lawsuit against the author has been updated. Please read the comments.*

Rating: 3/5                       Published: 1994, pp 231

14 comments:

Jean Sasson said...

Hi Jeane... This is Jean Sasson, the author of the three PRINCESS books, along with four other books about other women or other topics. I'm glad you liked the book as it is an important woman and an important subject. I wanted to take a moment to assure you that the princess is real. Although she does not come out in public, she has communicated with with some of my publishers. As far as the woman who claimed the story was her story: This was a woman whom the princess nor I had ever met in our lives, or for that matter, we had never heard of her. Add to that, she was a GERMAN woman who had no claim to life in Saudi Arabia -- Best I recall she had a restaurant in Kuwait and married some Kuwaiti guy. She had NOTHING in common with a Saudi princess but she made a bad habit of accusing other authors of "stealing" her life story after she could not get any publisher interested in her book. One very important author, Deborah Moggach from London who wrote about Pakistan had the same problem with her. This woman even harassed Deborah and threatened her physically. You might want your readers to know that the judge threw out the case and fined the woman for even bringing the lawsuit. I think it is VERY important that when such things are repeated online that everyone make certain to have the entire story, or the same old lie just keeps going around the world, and the true victims, the princess in this case, and me, the author, have to constantly clarify. This woman actually appeared to be unbalanced although I don't know that for certain, so it was the American lawyers we must scorn, for they were trying to make a buck off of innocent people and didn't care who they hurt in the process. Also, the lazy media simply reported their false accusations without trying to find the truth of the matter, which is no big surprise to anyone who follows the actions of the media. Anyhow, HAD the story been stolen and the princess not real, I could have never sold another book to a publisher. Since that frivolous lawsuit, I have written and had four more books sold all over the world. If you will go to my website, you can read the entire story. I hope this clears it up... And, I hope you keep on reading, as reading is one of the big joys of my life. Take care and all best wishes to you and your family... Oh, please don't post my personal email online, I would appreciate it... All the best, Jean Sasson

Danielle said...

I read Princess ages ago, but have yet to read the other books. It is certainly compelling reading and scary if these things are occurring. You really don't read much about Saudi Arabia. Geraldine Brooks has also written an interesting book on Muslim women called Nine Parts Desire. It's such a foreign world to us--isn't it.

Jeane said...

Ms. Sasson- Thank you very much for clearing up the matter. I did notice that in the second article I read, various people of the court stated several times that the suit was "utterly without merit". I apologize for not going to your website first for further information. I look forward to reading more of your books.

Danielle- The Princess books are the first I've read about Saudi Arabia, and I found it fascinating. The only other book I've read about Muslim customs is Reading Lolita in Tehran. I'd like to read more, get different perspectives; the one you suggest sounds very interesting too.

Lauren said...

Huh.. interesting!
How ironic that I just received a copy of Princess over the weekend!

Jean said...

Hi Everyone, This is Jean Sasson again -- Thanks Jeane for doing a little investigation -- we simply can't take anything at face value these days... I've been appalled at the lies I've read about myself, and about other writers I know. It's a scandal, really. Anyhow, my motto is to keep clarifying, and try to get the truth out there... (smile)... I'm glad the rest of you are reading up on these important books -- I recommend BURNED ALIVE... It's a horrifying, yet true story. There are many others, as well. For now, it's a pleasure to say hello. Talk with you later... Jean

Jean said...

Jeane, I couldn't get the site to take my comment, or at least it would not give me the message it had been saved. THEREFORE, it might show up more than once and if so, I hope you have a way of deleting all but one of the same! Sorry! Jean

Princess Sultana of Saudi Arabia said...

DEAR DOGEAR DIARY. Dear JEANE. The two articles you have posted on your site concerning Jean Sasson's Princess-books are true. You have been hoodwinked by Jean Sasson's meritless explanations which everybody on the net gets who uses articles which proof that Princess Sultana is indeed a fictious character. Thank you, Monika Al Adsani

Jeane said...

I have no way to prove or disprove any claims, whether the book is plagarized or not. I just offer what information is available, for others to read and make their own conclusions.

Missy Krissy said...

I read this book in high school. I couldn't put it down. It took me so many places. I was horrified, intrigued, heartbroken, laughing, crying... How do I even begin to describe a book like this? I can't. I'm just glad that I read it.

Anonymous said...

Sultana/Monika,

I read your blog, as well as articles and webpages concerning your autobiography. God bless your military son and your family.

Without condemning anyone (as only you and the accused know the real truth), I will just say that there are many types of people in this world. Some people will take your written word or ideas, some people will take your money or your dignity, and some people have no problem taking your irreplaceable life! We cannot change the many traits that make human nature what is is. But as the Rev. Louise Williams-Bishop put it, "You must learn how to make it on the broken pieces," advice which helps me get through situations where I have been left demoralized by many a crisis.

I hope you will be able to find peace with your situation, as well, and reach a time where "thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away" (from the book of Job).

My best wishes!

Princess Sultana of Saudi Arabia said...

Dear Anonymous. I thank you for your kind words. My blog has been updated, please do take another look.

Sincerely, Monika

Anonymous said...

IMPORTANT UPDATE!
I am pleased to let you know about a new book titelt
"THE PHONEY PRINCESS" which is now available on Amazon. This book is the long awaited expose on hoax author JEAN SASSONS "PRINCESS" TRILOGY.
Pleae spread the word.

Anonymous said...

Monika (who is maliciously using the Princess's name) is a longtime slanderer of Jean Sasson's. In fact she is also a very dangerous stalker as well.

Please visit the author's Web site for all of the details:
http://www.jeansasson.com/lawsuit/

Anonymous said...

IIf you google THE PRINCESS SULTANA HOAX blog you can download the Jean Sasson expose THE PHONEY PRINCESS free of charge- you get to learn truthfully how the hoax-Princess books came to be. Princess Sultana never walked on God's earth because she never existed.