Customer Reviews for

Not Without My Daughter

Average Rating 4.5
( 38 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2005

    An Unbelievable True Story

    In Not Without My Daughter, Betty Mahmoody is able to capture so many incredible details of how she and her daughter were held hostage in Iran for a year and a half. In August 1984, Mahmoody¿s husband took her and their four-year-old daughter, Mahtob, for a two-week vacation to his native land to visit his family. Upon arrival they found their environment to be filthy and condemned, only endurable for a two-week period. To their horror, they found that he wanted to reconnect with his Muslim heritage and never bring them back. In a land where women are less than objects and Americans are despised, Mahmoody must overcome the powerful odds against her and her daughter. Betty and Mahtob face many hardships in Iran, such as the police, ongoing air attacks and illness, but Betty perseveres. After a few months of dealing with her husband¿s mood swings, violent tempers and stealing away Mahtob, Mahmoody decides it¿s time to follow her father¿s favorite catchphrase; ¿If there¿s a will, there¿s a way.¿ To her relief, she finally makes connections with some professional smugglers¿but they wouldn¿t take her daughter. Just as the book becomes cutthroat and all hope seems lost, Betty and Mahtob find a way to get out. Mahmoody shows many emotions throughout her story: love and hate, trust and betrayal, hopefulness and defeat, and they all contribute to make a great read and a fascinating outlook on what life was like for her. I feel that one of the main reasons Mahmoody decided to publish this book was to warn people that what happened to her is real and does actually happen. Perhaps she was also trying to warn off any more horrible encounters such as she had. Not Without My Daughter is an amazing story from start to finish, a great read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2000

    I'm an American female sophomore in Highschool, with my best male friend being an Iranian

    Having my best friend being an Iranian, my curiosity for this culture grew. Flipping the channels one day, I came across this movie, and was moved by it. I decided to read the book--which I'm not much of a book reader, but once I started, I couldn't put it down. The book is so incredible. It taught me a lot about how life is in Iran. Betty's courage was unbelievable, and brought tears in my eyes thorughout the book. She taught me to believe, and if you do, it will happen. Just like what her dad had said to her, 'Where there's a will, there's a way.'... Through this book, I feel I understand my Iranian friend a lot better, which brought us closer, sharing our cultural differences.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 1999

    i was a muslim and im so disappointed and embarassed by it all..

    i felt for her. i just do not understand how can one be so unfeeling ( moody ) betty gives me the sense of being what you want, be strong and be positive. she is my role model, and given a chance i really want to meet her and give her a BIG hug. anyone am i to contact her?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Highly recommended

    This book had me on the edge of my seat all the way through. This is a story of a courageous woman who races against time to save herself and the fate of her daughter. Stuck in a country where women have no rights and Americans are despised, she must find a way to escape, with her daughter, back to the safety of America. This is truly one of my favorite books;However, I do not recommend the movie. The book is much better!!

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  • Posted August 13, 2009

    A cautionary, inspiring tale of hope and perseverance against all odds

    This was my first favorite book, dont watch the movie though, its nothing to compare, the book is culturally eyeopening, heart wrenching, edge of your seat, inspirational, and OMG I cant believe this is real stories! you will never appreciate your freedom and choices as an American women as much as you will after reading this book and you will know not to ever make the mistake she did.
    I took this book to an inmate I was supporting at the county Jail, this book circulated through out the entire womens population, with a waiting list for who was next in line to read it! I hope to get another copy just to pass it on again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2009

    Thought provoking

    The courage of Betty and her daughter is amazing and leaves me wondering how they are carrying on today. The novel is insightful and thought provoking, at times frightening to realize how cruel people can be. The book helps us realize how fortunate we are for the freedoms we have in America.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2008

    A Great Story

    Not Without My Daughter was an amazing story not because it was enjoyable to hear the struggles that Betty had to endure, but rather the fact that she did endure them and found a way out-it was inspiring to see this woman and daughter that seemed to be completely alone and helpless in a foreign country find a way to communicate with their family back home and find people that they could trust to make plans for them to escape out of the hands of their keeper. At the beginning of the book especially, I could tell that getting on that plane was a bad idea and I wish I could have been there and told them not to get on, but instead I had to read as they fell into the trap set by her husband, hoping that it wouldn't end until they were safe again. Probably most of all though, this book made me appreciate my freedom in America. Betty went from growing up with all sorts of freedoms to being trapped in a home 1,000s of miles away with nowhere to go.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2007


    I have watched the movie 'Not Without My Daughter' many times and I always feel the same way when it ends. Envisioning myself in her place and ending up doing the same things she did to get through her ordeal. This movie should not be criticized for it's protrayal of the United States or Iran but should just simply be understood as a womans true account in her eyes of her horrible situation she went through and doing what she could in attempting to save herself and her daughter. End of story. If Dr. Mahmoody wants to tell his side of the story then I would be more then happy to read it too. God Bless Betty and her daughter. I wish I knew how they were doing now. Great reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2007

    A reviewer

    Now that the fifteen British mariners have been released from Iranian captivity and repatriated, if you're interested in forming an impression of what it's like to live among typical Persians, whose habits of personal hygiene may surprise you, revisit this book while copies remain available.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2006

    this book will seriously move you to tears..

    a classy read!it really makes the sayin true'..where there's a will there's a way'...very heart touchin..i'll end with what i started off....a classy and a wonderful read.!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2005

    We Do Understand

    Betty's tale is a remarkable journey upon which we all learn the power of human will. Betty has written the story based on HER experiences not those of the audience of readers. Some readers seem to be angered by her story, but it is not their story. Betty does not claim to state the opinions of all Americans or Iranians. I have known many Iranians in my life that have told of similar stories. I grew up with an Iranian family who are still very close to me today. I do not think of them as the characters in the book. We all don't like to hear something negative about our culture, but it sometimes happens. It does not mean we judge the entire culture by this book, it is ONE story not the New York Times. Let Betty speak.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2004

    Awful Story

    Betty Mahmoody is an example of a woman scorned. In real life, this woman wanted to divorce her Iranian doctor husband and take his money. When she found that she could not do that, she thought to defame him and his family in a book. At a time when Iranians are thought of as terrorists, because American's have such a difficult time distinguishing between a government's viewpoints and ideals and the people, it is a pathetic excuse to cause hate. In this story Mahmoody refers to her family as dirty and in-hospitable. These are the worst insults one can give an Iranian, because they are just untrue. For an American who uses toilet paper after defacating to call an Iranian who usually washes with soap and water dirty, is sadly mistaken. Iranians are perhaps the most diplomatic and hospitable people in the middle-east with over 2000 years of rich history. It is so sad that so many Americans fall for lies like this.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2004

    a terrible story, but...

    Betty Mahmoody's story is touching, heartwrenching, and terribly sad. To be married to a man that would literally kidnap his wife and daughter and keep them anyplace against their will is something that most of us cannot imagine. The only problem that I have with this book is that it is completely one-sided (which is to be imagined), but the fact that it seems to be read so widely in schools troubles me. I hope that in addition to reading about this woman's horrific experience, schools are encouraging their students to learn more about true Islamic culture and faith. What Ms. Mahmoody's husband did to her is something done by an unfeeling man suffering from depression and a mental breakdown over the loss of his job, his 'inferior' status in his adopted country, and pressure from his family, and not something done by a man simply because he is Muslim. I only hope that schools and even individuals who read this book or see the movie realize that this is not the norm, and not all Muslim women and wives of Muslim men are treated in this manner. A well-written book, but needs to be qualified as the story of one woman's experience, and not as the definition of a culture.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2003

    To hell and back

    I watched this movie in my sociology class and at first I didn't think it would be that interesting. After the movie was over, I couldn't believe that this woman had experienced all that struggle and lifestyle. I could only imagine how she felt when she went along with her husband trusting him and then he betrayed he and turned violent and controlling towards her. It really is an inspirational movie, I can't even imagine all the intricate details that also went on that the movie did not illustrate. It really does seem that she has been to hell and back and made it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2003

    This is a TRUE story

    Loved 'Not without my Daughter' and felt so sorry that Betty had such a struggle to get out of Iran with her daughter! Makes one think about the treatment of women in other countries!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2003

    nightmare trip

    Betty married the Americanized Dr. Sayyed Bozorg Mahmoody in 1997.Betty and her daughter went to see Moody Family and became virtual hostages of her husband and His family. After a year a man guide them across the mountain Range that forms border between Iran and Turkey. They Escaped and began a long journey to Michigan. They Had to go through things moms and daughters never went Through. Betty and her daughter anxiously awaited the end Of their vacation in this hostile land, but the never came. Moody had others plans for his family . Betty and Mahtob Became virtual hostages of Betty's tyrannical husband and His often viclous family. Hiding her secrets meetings from her husband and His large network of spies, a desperate Betty began to plan her Esape, but every option involved leaving Mahtob behind, Abanding her to Moody and a life of her slavery and degrada- Tion. After a harsh and terrifying year Betty discovered A ray of hope a man would guide them across the mountain Range that forms the border between Iran and Turkey .One Dark night, Betty and Mahtob escaped and began the long Journey home to Michigan, but first they had o survive a cross- Ing that few women or children had ever made.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2003


    A exceptionally well writen book that sheds tremendous insight into the Islamic faith and culture of Moslems in the middle east. I saw the movie years ago and it inspired me to finally read the book. I was fascinated to learn about Betty's triumph in overcoming hardship and abuse in Iran. This is definitely a must read book, especailly given the state of affairs the US is having today with the middle east. This story makes you proud and glad to be an American!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2002

    Great book on understanding human and womens rights

    I'm glad to see so many younger people reading this book. Searching around I read reviews by some who found this book biased and some said Betty did not understand the culture. Whether she understood it or not is irrelevant. What happened to her is a severe violation of basic human rights in America. Some have said she had no respect for the laws of Iran, but where was the respect for Betty and Mahtob's rights? Betty had every right to expect to be able to return to her country and every right to take her daughter with her. While some view her escape as a kidnapping, I say good for her! She has saved her daughter from a life that would prevent her from opportunity and education. I admire Betty's strength in continuing her efforts to protect children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2002

    kristin ,14 westerly r.i

    i think that the book was fabolous maybe some parts people can obviously get offended by as we saw but they dont know what it was like for betty in iran i know this because my father is in the millitary and we went to the middle east it honestly isnt the best place no its not as harsh and whatnot as they say in the book BUT the book was also taken place in 1986 i know anerica isnt 100% innocent either but its not about that its about not with out my daughter. i personally thought it was the best book i have ever read. i had to read it for summer reading in portsmouth middle school to go to the 9th grade. i can honestly say i loved this book and i recomend it to EVERYONE! i myself i really hate reading books and after i read this book ive been wanting to read more and more

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2002

    Surprise !!

    I¿m so surprised not about the book, but about the readers of that and their opinions. How it is possible for them to judge about a nation with a great civilization, culture and history. a civilization witch is the foundation of Europe and consequently Americans civilization. This is not my opinion, this is what history tells us. And they judge this nation just with reading a STORY and just because it is written so impressive !! I¿m an Iranian and I¿m glad living in this country and I will be glad to help you to understand the reason of different cultural behaviors here.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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