** Excellent Daughters by Katherine Zoepf

The author of Excellent Daughters: The Secret Lives of Young Women Who Are Transforming lived in the Middle East for several years and speaks Arabic, so she is able to speak with and relate to young women in that area better than many other observers. She is at her best when telling individual stories, whether those of the flight attendants in the Gulf, recruited from the entire area, or those of the Saudi Arabian teenagers swapping tips on how to behave in front of prospective husbands. Her attempts at strategy pronouncements are less effective, but her efforts to understand culture and religion give us a nuanced and affectionate view of young women’s dreams.

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