Review: الباب المفتوح

الباب المفتوح الباب المفتوح by لطيفة الزيات
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every Egyptian lady should read this book. I can't say enough how empowering it is. It so clearly depicts the life of Egyptian ladies in the mid 20th century and how some of them decided to take control of their own lives, while others decided to stick to traditions. Things might have changed since then, but the fight still persists. Some girls still choose to marry someone because of their social status, profession or family. Some girls still let the men in their lives control them. Some girls still choose not try to find themselves, to think of themselves, to decide for themselves, or to be in control.

El Bab El Maftooh is the story of Laila, a girl who has been raised to feel that she's less than men in everything possible, but has always felt that she can be more. Three men, the political events that took place then, and different incidents in her life drastically change her. And we're taken with Laila to a journey in search for the open door through which she'd find herself.

Today many of us still need to understand the difference between a "Essam", a "Ramzy" and a "Hussein". These differences are not only ones that are concerned with a lady's love life or choosing a husband, they focus on the way ladies see themselves, think, plan and decide. Through the story of Laila with these three men and her three very different friends: Gameela, Sanaa and Adeela, Latifa El Zayyat sheds light on these important differences.

A good part of the book is pretty similar to Faten Hamama's movie, but even in this part you get to know more details about thoughts of the different characters. But towards the end, there is a great part of Laila's journey of taking control that was not mentioned in the movie at all and which is actually the most important part of the book.

I wish every girl would be as mentally and physically empowered as Laila became. I wish every girl would settle for no less than her "Hussein".

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