My Memoir

Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening


This book took six years in the making. I wrote most part of it in Arabic and translated it into English. I shed tears and broke my heart 10s of times revisiting dairies, letters, photos, and memories kept locked. In a way, it was my best therapy.

This memoir is the first that is written with such intimacy and brutal honesty by any Saudi woman. I believe it won’t be the last but just the beginning of many to come to this world.

I’m honored and humbled by the attention my memoir got internationally. To mention a few, Oprah magazine named it #1 book for the summer read & Good Reads Choice Award 2017 ranked it #4 for the best memoirs of 2017.

I’m listing here some of the reviews & interviews about my memoir:


JUN 15    Amanpour / CNN / LINK

JUL 16    Q&A / CSPAN / LINK


JUN 8    Fresh Air with Terry Gross / National Public Radio / LINK

JUN 12    The World / PRI RADIO / Syndicated to 300 stations across North America / LINK

JUN 17    State of Belief Radio / Interfaith Alliance / Interview with Rev. Welton Gaddy / LINK

JUL 2    WMC Live with Robin Morgan / Women’s Media Center / LINK

JUL 9    To The Best of Our Knowledge / NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO / LINK


FEB 1    Library Journal / PrePub Alert / Library Journal / LINK

APR 1    Kirkus Reviews / Review / Kirkus Reviews / LINK

APR 15    Library Journal / Starred Review / LINK / Library Journal / LINK

MAY 1    Islamic Horizons / Review / Review (May/June issue)

MAY 15    Booklist / Review / Booklist Online

JUN 1    BookPage / Review / Review (June issue) / LINK

JUN 1    Ms. Magazine / Review / Review (June issue)

JUN 1    Marie Claire / Feature Interview / Feature interview in Newsfeed section (June issue, on-stands May 16)

JUN 9    Newsweek / Feature Interview / Interview with Nina Burleigh / LINK

JUN 11    New York Times / Original Piece / Sunday Review / “I Left My Son in a Kingdom of Men” / LINK

JUN 13    Associated Press (AP) / Review / Pick Up: Washington Post, Salt Lake Tribune, Albany Times Union, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, Star Tribune, Arab News, News-Sentinel, Daily Herald, Observer-Reporter, Toledo Blade / LINK

JUN 16    Time Magazine / Review / Capsule review

JUN 17    New York Times / Author Profile / “The Saturday Profile” (Interview with Somini Sengupta) / LINK

JUN 22    Muslim Observer / Review / LINK

JUL 1    O, The Oprah Magazine / Summer Roundup / Summer Reading Room (July issue) / LINK

JUL 1    Women’s Review of Books / Review / Review under consideration

JUL 5    Shelf Awareness / Reading With… / Feature / LINK

JUL 8    USA Today / Q&A / LINK

Local US TV

JUN 23    Portland, ME / NBC (WCSH – Portland) / Nightly News / LINK

Local US Radio

JUN 13    New York, NY / WNYC / Leonard Lopate Show / NPR affiliate / LINK

JUN 18    New England / WICN-FM / Inquiry / NPR affiliate

JUN 19    Santa Cruz, CA / KUSP-FM / The Agony Column / NPR affiliate

JUN 19    Berkeley, CA / KPFA-FM / Letters and Politics / LINK

JUN 20    Dallas, TX / KERA-FM / Think! / NPR affiliate / LINK

JUN 21    Los Angeles, CA / KPCC-FM / Air Talk with Larry Mantle / NPR affiliate / LINK

JUN 23    Boulder, CO / KGNU-FM / Booktalk / NPR affiliate / LINK

JUL 7    St. Paul, MN / MINNESOTA PUBLIC RADIO / The Thread / NPR affiliate / LINK

Local US Print

JUN 11    SACRAMENTO BEE / Book Mention


JUN 18    DALLAS OBSERVER / Feature Interview / Interview timed to event with Dallas/Ft. Worth World Affairs Council on 6/20 / LINK

JUN 20    New York Minute Magazine / Article with book mention / LINK

JUN 25    Virginian Pilot / Review / Capsule review / LINK

JUL 1    Tallahassee Democrat / Summer Roundup / LINK


TK    Washington Post / Feature Interview / Interview with Adam Taylor for WorldViews (Foreign Affairs blog)

TK / Feature Interview / Interview with Sarah Harvard

TK    The New Republic / Book Review

MAR 19    Me, You, and Books / Blog Review / 4 Stars / LINK

MAY 8    Parchment Girl / Round-up / “50 Amazing New Books You Need to Read This Summer” / LINK

MAY 31    Jewish Journal / Round-up / “Five Top Summer Books and Where to Meet the Authors” / LINK

JUN 1    Bustle / Round-up / “The 14 Best Nonfiction Books Coming Out in June 2017” / LINK

JUN 2    BookRiot / Round-up / “Inbox/Outbox” / LINK

JUN 5    New Jersey Law Journal / Event Coverage / Article in advance of NJ Bar Association event (June 12) / LINK

JUN 5    Bitch Magazine / Round-up / “17 Books You Should Read in June” / LINK

JUN 8    Shelf Awareness / Media Heat / Listed Fresh Air interview / LINK

JUN 10    Quartz / Quote / LINK

JUN 12    The Cut ( / Serial Excerpt / Arranged by S&S Sub Rights / LINK

JUN 13    New York Journal of Books / Review / LINK

JUN 14    Smashing Interviews Magazine / Interview / Interview / LINK

JUN 19    Literary Hub ( / Feature Article / Interview with Sabrina Toppa / LINK

JUN 20    World Affairs Council / Podcast / Global IQ Minute podcast

JUN 22    The News Wheel / Review / 5 out of 5 stars / LINK

JUN 22    The Cut ( / Round-up / “9 Books We’re Reading This Month” / LINK

JUN 23    Reuters / Feature Interview / LINK

JUN 26    Reading & Eating / Blog Review / LINK

JUN 30    Slate / Podcast / Live at Politics and Prose (podcast) / LINK

JUL 1    Wear Your Voice / Review / LINK

JUL 14    Muftah Magazine / Review / LINK


“This eye-opening memoir recounts al-Sharif’s journey from religious radicalism (she melted her brother’s cassettes in the oven because the music was forbidden) to women’s rights activist in Saudi Arabia, imprisoned in 2011 for driving a car.”
Library Journal

“An intimate and powerful book from what is hopefully only the first of many Saudi voices to speak out.”
Kirkus Reviews

“[al-Sharif] has written a vital, inspiring book, describing her journey from abused schoolgirl to ‘Saudi Rosa Parks,’ leading the charge the world over for human rights and the simple freedom to take a seat behind the wheel.”
O, The Oprah Magazine

“A striking, nuanced memoir of what it means to “drive while female” in Saudi Arabia. … It is the story of [al-Sharif’s] traditional Saudi upbringing, her youthful radicalization, and her eventual change of heart that makes for a truly eye-opening read. … Fascinating, powerful, and heartbreaking, al-Sharif’s story should be required reading. Perfect for readers interested in Middle Eastern affairs, gender politics, and international women’s rights, as well as the role of social media in worldwide activism.”
Library Journal

“An intimate look at life for women growing up in Saudi Arabia and the challenges of seeking major social change.”

“Daring to Drive is a brave, extraordinary, heartbreakingly personal story of one woman’s battle for equal rights, told through the minute details of an everyday life that boiled over after years of frustrations. … The book provides a rare glimpse into Saudi society, and especially into the lives and emotions of women. … Al-Sharif presents a…valuable and honest view: a look into the hearts and minds of people who live in a society that is mostly off-limits to Westerners. Her literary achievement is that despite the huge cultural differences, Daring to Drive shows that Saudi women and men have dreams and fears much like our own.”
Associated Press (AP)

TIME Magazine

Christian Science Monitor

“For readers who are unaware of the dirty side of Saudi society, “Daring to Drive” is an eye-opening account of everything the world has missed.”
Muslim Observer

“Sure to be a summer best-seller. … A great and empowering story.”
Tallahassee Democrat

“Daring to Drive…takes readers in to a fascinating world usually closed to western audiences. … al-Sharif is a woman of extraordinary courage shaped by the restrictions placed on her by society. Daring to Drive is a testament to how women in Muslim countries are helping change their culture, one step at a time.”
New York Journal of Books

“Al-Sharif tells her story in clear, readable prose… [and] provides readers with unusual insight into what it means to be a woman under Wahhabi. … Daring to Drive is an important book.”
Me, You, and Books


“Al-Sharif’s transformation from religious radical to feminist champion is incredibly inspiring and I can’t wait to read her story.”

Jewish Journal

“If you’re searching for an inspiring memoir, Daring to Drive should be on your must-read list.”
Bitch Magazine

“If you consider yourself interested in women’s rights or the cultures of other lands, Daring to Drive should be a mandatory addition to your reading list.”
The News Wheel

“This book will piss you off and make you want to fight for women’s rights in a way no empowering Dove campaign could.”
The Cut (