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Book Report and Evaluation of

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1023 words Published: 9th Sep 2021

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The main character of the book is Betty Mahmoody. She is a loving mother and is remarried with Moody. If they are going to Iran for a holiday, he refused to allow them to leave. She never thought Moody would take her there against her will, because he had sworn by the Koran that they will return to the USA after two weeks and she believed him. Betty is a strong woman who keeps having faith that she and her daughter will escape Iran and can go back to the USA some day.

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Moody Mahmoody: Moody is Betty’s husband and he is born in Iran. In the beginning of the book he is a good husband and father, but when they are in Iran, he changed into a very bad person when he started to beat his wife and daughter. He won’t let his wife and child go back to the USA and lied about it.

Betty Mahmoody, a Michigan divorcee with two young sons, met and fell in love with a very nice, intellectual, Westernized doctor from Iran. He had studied and qualified in America. They were happy and eventually married, though she did not enjoy visits from his countrymen, who treated her as inferior. They had a little girl, Mahtob. After much persuasion, Betty agreed to visit Moody’s family in Iran when Mahtob was four.

Once there, Moody changes, becoming more domineering, Islamic and Iranian, expecting Betty to adopt the customs of his homeland. She and Mahtob become virtual prisoners wherever they live. Betty has to wear chador, completely covering herself. Some family member always spies, telling Moody her every move.

She fears Moody and his family, realizing that he intends them all to stay in Iran. Little Mahtob must go to school, a dreadful place. But Betty receives help and kindness from one of the teachers who allows her to stay and help out. During these breaks from Moody, she risks all, seeking help from various strangers whom the teacher suggests. Betty grasps at anything. Even rumors that people-smugglers kill, rape and rob, then abandon their charges, do not deter her. The Swiss Embassy people have warned her; they are unable to help either. Someone gives her a lead, she connects with a woman, then a man who may help. He will not take children. Again, she must wait in fear, her hatred of Moody and what he is doing growing stronger.

Finally she connects with Amahl. Betty trusts him implicitly, taking great comfort from their secret meetings. Time passes, Mahtob returns to school. For over a year they have been away from home and their loved ones. Betty is brought to pain and despair as her father is dying and she cannot go to him. Moody eventually agrees to let her go – but not Mahtob. Betty refuses. He insists, his agenda being that she sell everything and bring back the money. He forces her to apply for an Iranian passport and books flights.

Betty attends Islamic classes and ceremonies, trying to understand the culture she is captive in, earning trust from Moody, though he keeps the papers and passports locked in his briefcase. But the someone helping is working hard on her behalf. Through links with tribal leaders, he hopes to get Betty and Mahtob out via Pakistan. They must hurry, the flight to America looms. A tremendous snowfall in the mountains stops them – a dreadful setback.

Moody is more abusive and violent, the two are prisoners. Her passport awaits at the airport. Only two days remain. A chance to escape happens – Moody is called to the hospital. Amahl hides them in a Tehran flat and they move the following night. There is a long drive to Tabriz, then up into the mountains, where Kurdish rebels and border patrols mean danger. They must cross into Turkey in a Red Cross Ambulance, to the city of Van in Eastern Turkey, passing from one smuggling team to another.

Thus begins their journey, trusting many strangers, receiving kindness as they drive, walk, ride horseback and stumble through the rocks and snow, seeking freedom. It is an arduous flight, hampered by checkpoints, high mountains and viciously cold weather, but finally they reach Van. After 32 hours on a bus, they arrive in Ankara – one full week since the journey began. Finding a hotel, they wait for morning and the final step – the American Embassy.

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The passports are not in order, no visas or border stamps. The hotel clerk wants to report them to the police. Betty begs him to contact the Embassy at three a.m. A Marine on duty refuses to help, urging them to see the police. Betty persuades the clerk to call her mother, who contacts the State Department in Washington. When they reach the Embassy, matters are in hand, they are safe at last, on a plane home that same day!

Sadly, Betty’s father dies six months later. She knows nothing about her Iranian friends; contact is too dangerous for them. Borrowing money, she reimburses Amahl who helped her to freedom. He cannot escape.

Mahtob has settled and does well at school. Both fear that Moody will try to snatch his daughter back. The State Department agreed that Betty should tell her story as a warning to others. There are many women and children trapped in Iran, as they were. Her powerful friends in America and Iran give her some hope of safety. She and Mahtob live under assumed names, somewhere in the U.S.A. [1]

Personal evaluation.

I have read this book with great pleasure. It’s a sad story with a happy ending. I can’t imagine that this story is true-happened. It’s very exciting, because when you read the book you have no idea if they can escape or if they will die in Iran. It’s unbelievable how a father can put his wife and child in such a position, how a father can beat his wife and how a family can have such a great influence on a grown-up man. The women in Iran are inferior to their husband: they have to cover their arms, legs and forehead, they must listen to their husbands and are treated like slaves. So the culture in Iran is different from our culture, it makes you aware of the problems in the world and the emancipation of women.

[1] = http://www.shvoong.com/books/73262-daughter/


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