I was pleasantly surprised by the story method used in Abu-Lughod’s book. I’ll freely admit that I’m usually a skimmer if a reading is over 40 pages, but I instantly fell into this book. The way it was written makes it easy to understand, and the stories make one feel like they were right there in the room also.
Chapter 1 was quite an interesting chapter to me. It honestly seemed like every other story was one where Migdim was cursing about her sons and how moronic they were. The story about the parallel-cousin marriage and how Migdim really did not want to marry those certain guys was really revealing to me. The way she used manipulation to ensure she was at least somewhat happy throughout her life really helped me understand some of the dynamics of their culture. In the end, her manipulation worked, but to me, it’s sad it even had to resort to that in the first place. In the end, chapter 1 made me think about how it seemed like her sons were just living for the money and the women, and her daughters and daughters-in-law really cared about Migdim herself.
The stories of reproduction from chapter 3 were both exciting and heartbreaking. They really revealed the thoughts on reproduction, their superstitions and cures for ailments, and how valued children are in their society. The stories of the ones who had trouble getting pregnant or had miscarriages were slightly heartbreaking to me. Wanting to take away your daughter because the couple is having problems having children just seems so selfish and odd to me. The list of different ways to “unblock” a woman did have me cracking up some just purely due to the long list and serious thoughts behind it.
I throughly enjoyed this reading, and am looking forward to reading the rest.