Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Book Club Discussion: The Caged Virgin

For April we read The Caged Virgin by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Personally, I had a difficult time getting through this book, despite it being only about 180 pages long. The problem wasn't the content but that I'd already read Hirsi Ali's memoir, Infidel, and had pretty much stalked her after that (this is a common thing I do when an author peaks my interest). What I mean is, I googled her and read everything and anything I could about her. I watched her short film, Submission, and learned as much as I could about what she's doing now that she's had death threats against her.

When I chose The Caged Virgin I expected it to be more of a documentary about women in Islam, but in actuality it is a collection of essays, speeches and interviews by or with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. So pretty much I was reading a bunch of stuff I'd already read in her other book or through my online stalking. However, after meeting with Chason last week to discuss the book, I learned that he appreciated the book and the new perspective it gave him. Perhaps if I had read it before reading Hirsi Ali's other book I wouldn't have been so critical.

On the plus side, the essay format makes it easy to read this book in pieces. Since it isn't one long story you don't have to worry about having forgotten something in between reads. I definitely preferred her memoir to this though because it was a story and it made the struggles of Islamic women more real to me. This woman has an amazing life and she's very brave to have put it in writing, considering the consequences she faces for having done so.

For those of you who have read this book, what do you think?

Also, I'm still taking suggestions for next month's book club, so if you have any great ideas leave them in the comments sections below. I'll post the selection tomorrow.


LisaMM said...

I'd like to suggest Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks.

Becca said...

Oooooh, this sounds super interesting. I'm pretty much obsessed with the plague so this may be a good one indeed. Thanks for the suggestion Lisa!