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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
A Year Under Sharia Law: Memoir of an American Couple Living and Working in Saudi Arabia by Alex and Elizabeth Fletcher is a memoir that documents the life of a couple as they navigate the challenging, somewhat dangerous landscape of Saudi Arabia under Sharia law. Alex studied and graduated with majors in marketing and English, and after working for an online casino, nothing could get better. Employment in Michigan was soaring and depression, the kind that can’t be cured by therapy or medication, got a strong hold on Alex. They needed to pay off their student loans and their home, and the only thing to do was what many would consider a crazy idea — go to Saudi Arabia to teach English.
In this memoir, the authors offer telling revelations of the nature of Sharia law, about a society torn between the idiosyncrasies of religious practices and the exigencies of contemporary technological advancement. The reader is introduced to the day-to-day life of the authors, their experience of culture shock as they witness blatant human rights abuses that go unchecked and a lot more. They learn about the abuses that foreigners, especially women who come into the country, suffer under their employers who take their passports and make them work as nannies, often experiencing unspeakable crimes. From the preface, the reader understands that “While the church and state in Saudi have been intertwined for many centuries, the unique culture of the country has added its own idiosyncrasies.” Alex and Elizabeth Fletcher open the eyes of readers to these idiosyncrasies. A Year Under Sharia Law: Memoir of an American Couple Living and Working in Saudi Arabia is a powerful memoir with strong cultural commentaries, the story of a decision that came with huge consequences.