"This was a young woman from Missouri who arrived in a foreign land, not knowing the language. I learned Arabic in time and loved the people."

In 1975, when Carol Lewellen's husband grew tired of the frequent layoffs in his work for TWA, he opted for world travel and a two-year contract with Saudia Airlines. It was a fantastic adventure for the young American couple with twin daughters just out of kindergarten. They moved to Saudi Arabia and lived in a compound for foreign workers. Lewellen went to work as a secretary for an international pipeline. She got along well with the American and English men on the team but had to work in heavy, black clothing that covered even her eyes whenever Saudi men were present. With companionship from other Western women, she learned to navigate the weird, sometimes dangerous streets of the town of Jeddah.

Lewellen writes engagingly, often amusingly, about the upside of life in Saudi Arabia, such as the fantastic gold markets, snorkeling and fishing from a cabin on the Red Sea, and attending a sumptuous local wedding. She also vividly describes the difficult, sometimes frightening, downside—being stared at and stalked by local men, hunting without success for meat and milk for her children, and trying to grasp the many cross-cultural misunderstandings that could land a foreigner in jail.

Lewellen's account of her years in the town of Jeddah has an authentic ring. She has a sharp memory for small details about events such as the one big rainstorm, fishing with spears, and helping her children cope in a strange environment. Her overriding zeal to share these recollections stands out and easily makes up for the book’s lack of sufficient editing. She wishes to impart these memories especially to those who have never traveled or experienced life as she did in a very different, almost completely opposite, foreign culture. She succeeds with an emotionally charged retrospective of an American family building a close-knit life in a Muslim country.

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