Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi

“Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi

A powerful account of a murderer, prostitute, and just a woman taking back her freedom and dignity in the world. This is a true story of a woman in Cairo, Egypt sentenced to death for killing her pimp. She tells her story to a psychiatrist the night before she’s executed.

Here are a few quotes to give you feel for the book. This is far too complex, raw, and emotionally powerful book for me to write a review worthy of this book.

Quote 1

When they pronounced the word ‘patriotism’ I could tell at once that in their heart of hearts they feared not Allah, and that at the back of their minds patriotism meant that the poor should die to defend the land of the rich, their land, for I knew that the poor had no land.

Quote 2

I came to realize that a female employee is more afraid of losing her job than a prostitute is of losing her life. An employee is scared of losing her job and becoming a prostitute because she does not understand that the prostitute’s life is in fact better than hers. And so she pays the price of her illusory fears with her life, her health, her body, and her mind. She pays the highest price for the things of the lowest value. I now knew that all of us were prostitutes who sold themselves at varying prices, and that an expensive prostitute was better than a cheap one. I also knew that if I lost my job, all I would lose with it was the miserable salary, the contempt I could read every day in the eyes of the higher level executives when they looked at the lesser female officials, the humiliating pressure of male bodies on mine when I rode in the bus, and the long morning queue in front of the perpetually overflowing toilet.

Quote 3

A woman’s life is always miserable. A prostitute, however, is a little better off. I was able to convince myself that I had chosen this life of my own free will. The fact that I rejected their noble attempts to save me, my insistence on remaining a prostitute, proved to me this was my choice and that I had some freedom, at least the freedom to live in a situation better than that of other women.

Rating: ★★★★★ Book #62 in my My 2019 Reading Challenge

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