If you are a fan of the book and movie NOT WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER by Betty Mahmoody, you’ll be sure to enjoy this new book.
As you may remember, NOT WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER was a harrowing look at the ordeal of an American woman who went to Iran with her Iranian husband and daughter, thinking it was for a two-week vacation.
It wasn’t. Her husband, a doctor, had decided they were all going to stay in Iran, despite his wife and five-year-old daughter’s desire to return home to Michigan.
The situation took a turn for the nightmarish as Betty found out that, as the wife of an Iranian man, on Iranian soil, she was now considered an Iranian citizen under Iranian law, not an American citizen any longer. She also would automatically lose custody of her child if she were to divorce her husband and leave Iran – and never see the little girl again. Custody in Iran is automatically given to the father.
This particular dad isn’t exactly a candidate for Father of the Year, either. He’s violent. He consistently threatens to kill Betty, to take Mahtob away, and even has a habit of punching the mother in front of the child. This, keep in mind, is a doctor…yet one without a shred of adherence to the Hippocratic Oath.
Betty was resourceful and found a way out of the country and, with the help of a sympathetic businessman who led her to smugglers, managed to sneak across the border with her child, an odyssey that included a horseback ride on an icy mountain path.
MY NAME IS MAHTOB continues the story from the point of view of her daughter. Upon their return to America, while they’re free to some extent, mother and daughter are not 100% out of the woods yet. Mahtob’s father in Iran still has custody of her, at least by their law, and could materialize to try and take her back at any minute. They are forced, of necessity, to always have to look over their shoulders. The child has to go to school under an assumed name. She and her mother make numerous moves to ensure they’re not found. They’re often terrified, and many strange things happen to raise their fear level. Later, once Mahtob, now using her real name, is in college, the father finds out what school she’s attending after he searches for her on the Internet, and he and his relatives step up their bizarre efforts to “get to” the girl. The nightmare just keeps on going, yet Mahtob is a Lutheran child of enormous faith and continuously manages to rise above it.
It’s a great read. Congratulations to Mahtob for turning out so spectacularly!