Daring to Drive by Manal al-Sharif
PUBLISHED BY SIMON & SCHUSTER
REVIEW BY BECK BORONA
Simon & Schuster, who have brought us other memoirs such as Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody and Kunal Nayyar’s Yes, My Accent is Real, have taken on a brave voice in Manal al-Sharif’s intimate autobiography Daring to Drive.
It opens with women’s rights activist al-Sharif describing the frightening public outcry and her resulting incarceration for ‘driving while female’. I felt guilty never having heard the viral story of al-Sharif videoing her experience driving in her Saudi Arabian neighbourhood back in 2011. However, I feel so uplifted – and outraged – since reading her story.
Manal al-Sharif diverts the story back to her youth growing up in Mecca. Amongst her angry household, within a restrictive and patriarchal culture, al-Sharif shares some very personal and emotional experiences that had me in tears many times. One particular chapter had me charging up and down the hallway, genuinely livid. However, her story also made me feel grateful for something I do every day – drive my car without fear of persecution.
Daring to Drive is a reminder of how far women in other parts of the world have yet to go. Manal al-Sharif’s voice is intelligent, fiercely passionate yet humble, and I was cheering for her by the end. A wonderful and honest look into the life of an ‘accidental activist’.
Find this novel in store at Planet Books. Ask the friendly staff for guidance too, and they’ll be more than happy to order you in a copy if it’s already sold out.