Much to my surprise and joy, AMERICAN CHICK IN SAUDI ARABIA hit the #1 slot on the Barnes & Noble BIOGRAPHY bestseller list, and, on the second day it was released. I’m thrilled, to say the least.
It all began with an ad in the newspaper. I was living in Jacksonville Beach, Florida and was enrolled in court reporting school. It didn’t take me long to realize that I didn’t have what it takes to find joy in a career in the American court system. That’s when I started checking out newspaper ads for a job, something to “tide me over” until I could make up my mind what I wanted to do, and where I wanted to go, next. My eyes landed on an ad for a administrative position in Medical Affairs at a royal hospital in Saudi Arabia. Suddenly I was intrigued, even excited. I was always an avid reader and had vast curiosity about the rest of the world, so I applied for the job, and just like that, within six weeks I was on my way to an exotic kingdom in the middle of a desert, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I signed up for a two-year contract but ending staying for 12 years. That’s because I truly enjoyed the many adventures of living and working in Saudi Arabia.
I only had two problems living in the kingdom: First of all, I was appalled by the status of women, all still veiled at the time, and most without any rights to make personal choices. Secondly, I was horrified by the cruelty and neglect of animals, including abandoned dogs, stray cats, caged and neglected birds, mistreated camels, and on and on. I don’t have the sort of personality that will ignore the mistreatment of human beings or of animals. As all my friends can testify, I was embroiled in frequent misadventures!
Yet the Saudi people were some of the nicest people I have met, and most, if not all, extended a welcoming hand. In those early days, Saudis were happy to have foreigners coming to live in their country. And, it didn’t hurt that I was working for Dr. Nizar Feteih, the Saudi head of the hospital, the cardiologist for King Khalid, and a man closely connected with the royal family.
Only later, after the first Gulf War did they withdraw the welcome mat. Now I hear that it is nearly impossible for foreigners to meet up with and become friends with Saudis. What a pity!
But for me, living in Saudi Arabia turned into a life-changing adventure.
This first in my book series tells how I am plunged into the hidden lives of the veiled women in Riyadh, where women are locked in luxurious homes and fundamentalist mutawas terrorize the streets. I was lucky to meet women from all walks of life–a feisty bedouin, an educated mother, and a conservative wife of a high-ranking Saudi–all who opened a window into Saudi culture and helped to reshape my worldview.
I hope that you agree that after spending many years living and working and traveling the world, and after writing books about many brave heroines and one brave hero, the time has finally come for me to write about my personal adventures.
My CHICK series will focus on my life and adventures while in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Thailand, and the Philippines. My series of books will not focus on me only, but will reveal personal stories about some very compelling people I have met along my life’s path.
CHICK is now available as an e-book on Barnes & Noble NOOK. Next month it will be available on AMAZON and can be downloaded on KINDLE or on your PC desktop, etc. I do so hope you get to read it.
After I finish writing my personal story, it will be released in printed book form.
Here’s some additional information about my other books and about CHICK:
PRAISE FOR JEAN SASSON’S BOOKS:
“Fascinating…an intimate account of a family life that became steadily more dangerous and bizarre…in forced pursuit of Osama’s jihadist dreams.” –Washington Post
“The startling truth behind veiled lives…frank and vivid” Sunday Express
“Anyone with the slightest interest in human rights will find this book heart-wrenching.” –Betty Mahmoody, bestselling author of NOT WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER
“A fascinating narrative…devasting” Robert Harris, Sunday Times
“Absolutely riveting and profoundly sad…” –People
“A chilling story…a vivid account of an air-conditioned nightmare…” –Entertainment Weekly
“Must-reading for anyone interested in human rights.” –USA Today
“Shocking…candid…sad, sobering, and compassionate…” –San Francisco Chronicle
ABOUT JEAN SASSON:
Jean’s first book THE RAPE OF KUWAIT, based on her eye witness reporting on the invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi troops, was an immediate bestseller. Shortly thereafter she became a full-time writer. Her next three books, PRINCESS, PRINCESS SULTANA’S DAUGHTERS, and PRINCESS SULTANA’S CIRCLE, became international sensations as they were the first books to bring to the western world the shocking stories about life for women in Saudi Arabia. Jean is also the author of MAYADA, DAUGHTER OF IRAQ, about the prison experiences of an Iraqi journalist praised by Saddam Hussein; LOVE IN A TORN LAND: The True Story of a Freedom Fighter’s Escape from Iraqi Vengeance which tells the story of a beautiful Kurdish woman; GROWING UP BIN LADEN: Osama’s Wife and Son Take Us into Their Secret World; and FOR THE LOVE OF A SON: One Afghan Woman’s Quest for Her Stolen Child. Her work has been featured in People, Vanity Fair,The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The New York Post, The Sunday London Times, The Guardian, CNN, FOX, NBC, and many other news organizations.
I’m still traveling the world, although I have made my homebase in Atlanta, Georgia.
I’m still a passionate animal rights and women’s rights supporter.