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Dreams of trespass : tales of a harem girlhood
Mernissi, Fatima.
Adult Nonfiction CT2678.M47 A3 1995

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From Publishers' Weekly:

This rich, magical and absorbing growing-up tale set in a little-known culture reflects many universals about women. The setting is a ``domestic harem''in the 1940s city of Fez, where an extended family arrangement keeps the women mostly apart from society, as opposed to the more stereotypical ``imperial harem,'' which historically provided sex for sultans and other powerful court officials. Moroccan sociologist Mernissi ( Islam and Democracy ) charts the changing social and political frontiers and limns the personalities and quirks of her world. Here she tells of a grandmother who warns that the world is unfair to women, learns of the confusing WW II via radio news in Arabic and French, watches family members debate what children should hear, wonders why American soldiers' skin doesn't reflect Moroccan-style racial mixing and decides that sensuality must be a part of women's liberation. With much folk wisdom--happiness, the author's mother told her, ``was when there was a balance between what you gave and what you took''--this book not only tells a winning personal story but also helps to feminize a much-stereotyped religion. Photos. BOMC and QPB selections. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Sociologist Mernissi (Islam and Democracy, Addison-Wesley, 1993) has penned an engaging memoir about her own childhood in a Moroccan harem during the 1940s. In simple prose that allows the reader to see events through a child's eyes, she describes a world alien to most Westerners. The Mernissi harem is a large extended family in which female members, including divorced aunts and several wives for some males, are confined to their shared home and restricted in their behavior. These strong, colorful women are the focus of the book. They dominate household activities and frequently form a united front in dealings with male family members. While they accept their role in society, the women applaud changes in other Muslim nations and admire prominent women who promote these changes. The book ends abruptly before the author's teen years, suggesting that there will be a sequel. Recommended for Islamic studies collections, especially for young adults.-Rose Cichy, Osterhout Free Lib., Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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