Burned Alive: A Survivor of an

Burned Alive: A Survivor of an "Honor Killing" Speaks Out

4.8 12
by Souad, Marie-Therese Cuny, Souad

View All Available Formats & Editions

When Souad was seventeen she fell in love. In her West Bank village, as in so many others, sex before marriage is considered a grave dishonor to one's family and is punishable by death. This was her crime. Her brother-in-law was given the task of meting out her punishment. One morning while Souad was washing the family's clothes, he poured gasoline over her and set


When Souad was seventeen she fell in love. In her West Bank village, as in so many others, sex before marriage is considered a grave dishonor to one's family and is punishable by death. This was her crime. Her brother-in-law was given the task of meting out her punishment. One morning while Souad was washing the family's clothes, he poured gasoline over her and set her on fire. Miraculously, she survived, rescued by women of her village, who put out the flames and took her to a local hospital. Horribly burned over seventy percent of her body and still denounced by her family, Souad was able to receive the care she needed only after the intervention of a European aid worker. Now in permanent exile from her homeland, she has decided to tell her story and reveal the barbarity of a practice that continues to this day. Burned Alive ...is the first true account ever published by a victim of an "honor crime." Souad's inspiring testimony is a shocking, moving, and harrowing story of cruelty and incomparable courage...and an inspiring call to action to end a heinous tradition.

Editorial Reviews

Daphne Uviller
Souad tells her story in an unadorned, childlike voice that reflects her continuing battle to perceive herself as an adult in full possession of her rights, a battle she wages despite being married, employed and the mother of two more children. But her tale is so shocking that it needs to be told plainly; this is not a literary effort so much as it is a rare artifact whose mere existence should be regarded as nothing less than a miracle.
The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
The meaning of "women's rights" varies with nationality and culture. For Souad, who grew up in the late 1950s in a tiny, remote village in the "Palestinian Territory," it's an issue of life and death. When, as an unmarried girl, she became pregnant, she was sentenced to death by her immediate family, doused with gasoline and set on fire by her brother-in-law, and taken to a hospital to be neglected until she died. There, she was discovered by a humanitarian worker who managed to save her life by arranging her emigration, with her infant son, to Switzerland. As horrifying as this "honor crime" is, it's a logical, almost natural outgrowth of what Souad says is the standard treatment of girls and women in her closed world. Using starkly plain language, she vividly depicts a childhood of virtual slavery, in which she was illiterate, ignorant of anything beyond the confines of the village, working "harder than a beast of burden" and beaten daily. As Souad slowly healed and made a new life for herself in Europe, horrific images arose out of her jumbled memory: her mother smothering unwanted female babies at birth; her brother strangling her younger sister with a telephone cord for committing an unknown sin. Not so much a literary work as an expos of the brutal treatment of women still condoned in several parts of the world, this memoir, although painful to read, will be of urgent interest to anyone concerned with international human rights. Agent, Anna Jarota. (May 11) Forecast: This book was published in France last year and hit bestseller lists there. Ads in People and Time will alert American readers to its U.S. publication. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.87(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Burned Alive: A Survivor of an "Honor Killing" Speaks Out 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. My boss suggested I read this book so I did; I have since suggested it to at least 12 people. It is incredible what Souad went through. Our little 'reviews' are not enough, you truly have to read for yourself. I honestly can't believe this book hasn't been made into a movie. I have always been thankful I was born an American, but after reading this book, I am so much more appreciative of what I have, and the freedoms I have as a woman. Bless you Souad. I can't even imagine living what you went through. I read your story and just wept. Thank you for sharing your life with us. When I tell people about this book, they say, 'Oh, I know they (the women) have it bad', but when I start to go into detail about Souad's life, they get silent. Truly, this is a must read. I recommend EVERYONE read this book.
Anita-2674 More than 1 year ago
This book pierced straight into my heart and awakened all my human emotions of sadness, compassion, empathy, hope, and pure joy for the victim's survival of a honor-killing. I was moved that Souad survived her near-death experience, when she was set on fire by her brother-in-law, because she ended up pregnant while not married as a young girl. Souad's strong will of her human spirit and with the help of a friend, survived death along with her child and migrated to Switzerland where she later married and found true happiness. A must-read book for everyone!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book on the side from my Middle Eastern studies and found it most poignant! This is truly an insight into the realm of family culture in the Middle East. Honor crimes are happening more frequent than the West hears and the author describes her horror in grave detail! My heart goes out to her! I could not put the book down! The author is an inspiration to those who think they have it bad!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sassypickle More than 1 year ago
A very sad memoir and a great look into the lives of women who have no rights at all. Rather poorly written but I suppose that is understandable, since the author is illiterate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing and heart wrenching all at the same time. It is the first book in a long time that I actually read in one sitting - it was just impossible to put down! EVERYONE should read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The reason I rated this book the way that I did is simple. It's fantastic I don't think I've ever read a book like it, it really keeps you on edge and in complete aww... The only thing I did not like is that it really angers you while your reading which should tell you how completly captivated you get as you read. It's really a great book to read if you are like me and didn't know things of this nature really take place or you like reading books about survivors. It is truly an eye opener, and a book you will want to read from beginning to end the same day. Another thing that is really great about this book is that it's not incredibly long yet really descriptive in telling what certain things may look like in a way that makes it so easy to visualize. I felt that I made the right decision purchasing this book and I really suggest everyone read this book you will not be disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the few books that I've read that I couldn't put down. It tells of an average girl in the middle east stuck in the ancient traditions of being degraded by her father and viewed as less than a farm animal because she was a girl. I found this to be a love story but not a conventional love story. One of a girl who was in love with only the idea of love but not really knowing what love is. The tales of her daily torture of her life made me feel lucky to be in a country where I could think what I wanted whenever I wanted. This book gives great insight on what life in an infinately closed minded society would be like.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't even imagine what it must be like to live in a world where someone can choose your life(or death). Souad has overcome the impossible and made a life for her own. She is a true inspiration to all women. A must read! My copy is being read by one family member after another.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so good I could not put it down.It is very sad.In her village as in many other villages sex before marriage is a crime that many believe brings dishonor to the family and the only way to restore the familys honor is to kill the person who brought about the shame.This is an inside look at life in a country where your every movement could mean life or death for you if you are a woman.The man of the house has the right to play god with your life and there is nothing you can do about it.I think eveyone should read this book.It made me realize how lucky I am to be an american woman.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
once i started reading this book i could not put it down. It was so deep i just wanted to know what was going to happen next.