"Mayada - Daughter of Iraq" is a bestseller by Jean Sasson. The popularity of the book is more to do with the controversial subject than the quality of work. The book tells the story of a woman named Mayada Al Askari, coming from an influential Iraqi family, who under strange circumstances finds herself in Baladiyat Prison (Iraq's most feared prison during the regime of Saddam Hussein).
The book gives a painful account of how Mayada copes with the life in prison with other women. Her interactions with other cell inmates highlights the terrible state of affairs when Saddam was at the helm. References to Mayada's illustrious family were frequently made in the book, maybe to contrast with her treatment at the prison.
My only problem is with Mayada's own story. Why did she accept gifts from Saddam Hussein in the form of money if she was so upright? And if she feared for her life in refusing him she could have well left the country. She wrote under his patronage and had no problems with it as long as it was good for her. Truth dawned on her in the darkness of the prison. Possible but highly questionable!
If I've to sum up the novel I would say it's a depressing novel which could very well be used as a propaganda material.