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مذكرات طبيبة

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Rebelling against the constraints of family and society, a young Egyptian woman decides to study medicine. Her encounters with the other students intensify her search for identity. She comes to find fulfilment not in isolation, but through her relationships with others.


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Rebelling against the constraints of family and society, a young Egyptian woman decides to study medicine. Her encounters with the other students intensify her search for identity. She comes to find fulfilment not in isolation, but through her relationships with others.

30 review for مذكرات طبيبة

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amal Bedhyefi

    I started reading this book on the bus the other day thinking that I will be reading only a couple of pages. Having arrived at my destination thirty minutes later , I found myself incapable of putting it down . So I sat at a nearby coffeeshop to finish it . Thats how gripping and captivating the story is. ( and it's a short read hihi) This story is about the journey of a Female Doctor in a male-dominated society ( Egypt in 1956) who is desperately trying to find her purpose in life while disassoci I started reading this book on the bus the other day thinking that I will be reading only a couple of pages. Having arrived at my destination thirty minutes later , I found myself incapable of putting it down . So I sat at a nearby coffeeshop to finish it . Thats how gripping and captivating the story is. ( and it's a short read hihi) This story is about the journey of a Female Doctor in a male-dominated society ( Egypt in 1956) who is desperately trying to find her purpose in life while disassociating herself from the claws of patriarchy . Nawal saadaoui once again put her finger on the issues surrounding women not only in Egypt but in most societies as she successfully conveyed the struggles of women who neither found solace in their families nor within their socities. I would have loved to read the uncensored story though . I longed for those deleted pages that might have brought us closer to better understand the protagonist . I wanted to know her name too and how she managed to found her peace eventually . How come I only got to read Nawal's books ? Well ,you know what they say : Better late than never.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kavita

    At first, I thought this was an actual memoir. But pretty soon I realised this is just a short story of random ranting. A novella length story, Memoirs of a Woman Doctor is written in the first person and the narrator is a woman who takes us on her journey through life as a young girl to becoming a doctor and then falling in love with a good man after a failed marriage. I thought a book about the first female doctor in Egypt would be interesting. There are many themes the author might have explor At first, I thought this was an actual memoir. But pretty soon I realised this is just a short story of random ranting. A novella length story, Memoirs of a Woman Doctor is written in the first person and the narrator is a woman who takes us on her journey through life as a young girl to becoming a doctor and then falling in love with a good man after a failed marriage. I thought a book about the first female doctor in Egypt would be interesting. There are many themes the author might have explored in detail from both a social and familial perspective. If nothing, she could at least have developed a narrative that would have us empathising with the characters. But the writing was bland and boring. There were no 'characters' as such. Everyone conspired to keep the narrator down, but we only know this through her say-so. We don't actually get to see this in action. At some level, this is a badly written polemic against sexism. I appreciate the idea behind it, but it was just not interesting for me. I don't think this book would have been very effective in formulating the ideas of young girls / boys, because of this reason. A basic level problem with the story even as a feminist rant is that it ultimately ends with finding true love. So ultimately, that is the purpose of a woman? I am not sure what the message is here. Second, the narrator is very unlikeable because she only keeps ranting and there is no exploration of her relationships and feelings beyond the constant disgust and anger. While El-Saadawi's actual contribution to feminism is not up for debate, this book doesn't do much to further the cause, in my view. At any rate, I personally found it boring.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tuti

    impressive account of a woman’s quest for freedom

  4. 5 out of 5

    Leanne (Booksandbabble)

    From a young age the narrator (I believe she is unnamed, but my memory is terrible), has always felt restricted due to her sex. Growing up she was acutely aware of the difference between her and her brother, with her brother allowed more freedom and self expression. In a moment of defiance mixed with frustration she cuts her hair and is duly rewarded with half a dozen slaps from her mother. A few years pass and our narrator has worked hard to carve herself a place in the medical profession. Terr From a young age the narrator (I believe she is unnamed, but my memory is terrible), has always felt restricted due to her sex. Growing up she was acutely aware of the difference between her and her brother, with her brother allowed more freedom and self expression. In a moment of defiance mixed with frustration she cuts her hair and is duly rewarded with half a dozen slaps from her mother. A few years pass and our narrator has worked hard to carve herself a place in the medical profession. Terrified of the male body, and uncomfortable with her own female body form infancy, on entering the medical profession she ceases to view the human body with any emotion and realizes they are nothing more than arteries, muscle, skin and bone. Time passes and the young doctor is tired of the cold, unemotional life of the hospital and takes a break to live in the country and just BE. It is here she gets to know herself and learns to feel again. There is a wonderful image of a white flower opening which is a not too subtle hint at her sexual awakening as well as her emotional one. In the country she tends to a sick peasant who is in pain but smiling and it is at this moment that she understood the meaning to life, ' The meaning was love- a love of life and all its pleasure and pain, in sickness and in health, the known and the unknown parts of it, the beginnings and the endings'. Our narrator then enters into a truly unfulfilling marriage and this is where I shall end the review as it is a short little book and I would not want to say to much.

  5. 5 out of 5

    SheAintGotNoShoes

    I ordered a stack of Nawal's books because I have never read anything written by an Egyptian woman and I am also a student of Egyptian Arabic, though I have known Egyptian people since 1980. I did not know what to expect so went in with an open mind and was pleasantly surprized at how much of a feminist she is. I heard she was rebellious and did not believe in arranged marriages, but she is so feminist that it could have been written by someone here in the States and I would not have known. This b I ordered a stack of Nawal's books because I have never read anything written by an Egyptian woman and I am also a student of Egyptian Arabic, though I have known Egyptian people since 1980. I did not know what to expect so went in with an open mind and was pleasantly surprized at how much of a feminist she is. I heard she was rebellious and did not believe in arranged marriages, but she is so feminist that it could have been written by someone here in the States and I would not have known. This book is a novel but mirrors her life as a young doctor, so is semi autobiographical. She is still alive, although I do not know if she is still writing as she is 86 now. I look forward to reading more of her books !

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kimbofo

    First published in Nawal El Saadawi’s native Egypt in 1960, Memoirs of a Woman Doctor is a fictionalised account of growing up female in a restrictive culture where women are second-class citizens and often denied a chance of an education. In this first-person story, our narrator defies tradition — and her family’s claustrophobic expectations that she’ll marry and produce children — to go to medical school. Here, in the autopsy room, she dissects a male body — her first encounter with a naked man First published in Nawal El Saadawi’s native Egypt in 1960, Memoirs of a Woman Doctor is a fictionalised account of growing up female in a restrictive culture where women are second-class citizens and often denied a chance of an education. In this first-person story, our narrator defies tradition — and her family’s claustrophobic expectations that she’ll marry and produce children — to go to medical school. Here, in the autopsy room, she dissects a male body — her first encounter with a naked man — and “in the course of it men lost their dread power and illusory greatness in my eyes”. Later, she forgoes her independence to marry a man, but that turns sour when he tries to control her at home. She wastes no time in divorcing him — a huge no-no in Egyptian society — wondering if she will ever find a partner who respects her as a person and not as a “chattel” to own and objectify. The ending, I’m happy to say, is a satisfying one. This fast-paced novella, which spans decades in less than 120 pages, reveals the sexism at the heart of Egyptian culture and the courage required for a woman to be accepted in a profession long dominated by men. It has proved an excellent introduction to this author’s work, which has just been reissued by Saqi Books as part of a new series of classic work by writers from the Middle East and North Africa.

  7. 4 out of 5

    R.K. Cowles

    3 1/4 stars

  8. 5 out of 5

    Myriam

    This is a hectiv review of the book and not of the writer because I still hope that Nawal Al-Saadawi's fame and reputation as the rockstar feminist of the arab world is not owed to the same writing as in this book, cause boy this was a dull one. The story is flat and shallow and so full of clichés. It reminded me of hundreds of stories you can read in arab magazines, a sort of cheap literature with a redundant style and a supplicant fiminine tone. The story has no soul, I wasn't moved, I wad rat This is a hectiv review of the book and not of the writer because I still hope that Nawal Al-Saadawi's fame and reputation as the rockstar feminist of the arab world is not owed to the same writing as in this book, cause boy this was a dull one. The story is flat and shallow and so full of clichés. It reminded me of hundreds of stories you can read in arab magazines, a sort of cheap literature with a redundant style and a supplicant fiminine tone. The story has no soul, I wasn't moved, I wad rather bored, I expected to be amazed, even outraged a bit, but it was a whiny book. Maybe I hated it because I am more keen on advanced fierce feminism, that I am beyond the stage of being just angered about the patriarchal society (feminism 101), I want to read about strong unafraid women, I don't want to read about issues that I have already overcome. But the deal is that in the arab world this story can be quite outrageous and raises questions that women usually don't dare to talk about, like the matter of the husband whom at first is open minded and supportive and later on turns into an oppressive controlling a-hole, this is such a cliché yet it so rootef in the reality of arab women who are most of the times forced to leave their jobs to take care of their husband and kids. So, I won't say that this book is all lies and boring crap, but for me it was plain annoying, and I.learned nothing new from it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Santh memories

    This novel was written in 1980s, by a woman who already be a woman doctor in Cairo. Thus it was such a controversial one at that time. Tells about a young girl who hates herself, her changing body into an older one – an adult. She hates the discrimination made between a girl and a boy, and later on between a man and a woman, even in numerous little things. She fights against the public thought that man is a god, man is higher than woman, a boss, a king, a conqueror – the general society itself. Sh This novel was written in 1980s, by a woman who already be a woman doctor in Cairo. Thus it was such a controversial one at that time. Tells about a young girl who hates herself, her changing body into an older one – an adult. She hates the discrimination made between a girl and a boy, and later on between a man and a woman, even in numerous little things. She fights against the public thought that man is a god, man is higher than woman, a boss, a king, a conqueror – the general society itself. She strives by counting on the science, knowledge, bright brain – to be a doctor, thus she knows what is human made, although still wondering how such lots of little things can make us think, feel, sad, happy, etc. When facing human corpse, female and male ones, she finally knows that man is also a human, not a god. Being a doctor means that she can be more powerful, people even men are afraid of her, a doctor. She struggle against the unfairness happened to women - their life as individual, as a wife, a mother – compared to men, the society. Despite her hate feeling and thoughts of the unfairness, deep within his heart, still, she longs for “the right one”, a man of her.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ustina Kamal

    One of the reasons I have chosen this book is that it is circulated around the true incidents happened to Women of Egypt. I began to be accustomed to the rebellious writing of Nawal El-Saadawi. Although her writing sometimes hurts, but I praise her courage and boldness, as many Egyptian women fail to express their experience explicitly.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Narimene

    I have mixed feelings about this book. But i can say it is interesting and defenitely worth reading. The journey of the doctor from her childhood and her fight with her family, men, women, society and even herself and how it shaped her as a person over the years. It was well built and it had a clear story. I dont agree with the author in some points tho.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rachna

    A very concise feminist romance. It is about first of all falling in love with yourself then finding a partner to share your life with. The way she is brought up as a girl is all too familiar for most of us, and so are some of the experiences with men. Don't expect flowers and rainbows...the language is precise and doesn't dwell much on flowery sentiment. A very concise feminist romance. It is about first of all falling in love with yourself then finding a partner to share your life with. The way she is brought up as a girl is all too familiar for most of us, and so are some of the experiences with men. Don't expect flowers and rainbows...the language is precise and doesn't dwell much on flowery sentiment.

  13. 4 out of 5

    C.

    Quite powerful in places, but somewhat lacking in subtlety.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Murad Daoud

    First chapter was absolutely enjoyable but down the line it became meh.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Martina

    I really liked this book, although some parts were a little too extreme for me, I found them raw, real and based on experience. I love the way it came across, I could relate in the true feelings in many ways and when I couldn’t, the thoughts were explained well. I love that it showed vulnerabilities of the mind, heart and body and everything people think but don’t write about. I would recommend this book, I found a certain intimacy in it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Angie Fehl

    I feel a little silly now admitting that when I first picked up this book I mistook it for an actual memoir, having missed the part where it says "a novel" right on the front cover. *Facepalm* I also had the initial thought, "Man, this seems pretty short for a memoir!" (the whole thing is only 101 pages) but I thought maybe it was just a quick look back at a few moments within a few years time. Nope, it's actually a quick little novella read about an Egyptian female doctor just out of medical sc I feel a little silly now admitting that when I first picked up this book I mistook it for an actual memoir, having missed the part where it says "a novel" right on the front cover. *Facepalm* I also had the initial thought, "Man, this seems pretty short for a memoir!" (the whole thing is only 101 pages) but I thought maybe it was just a quick look back at a few moments within a few years time. Nope, it's actually a quick little novella read about an Egyptian female doctor just out of medical school, trying to get her career started up. Egyptian author Nawal Saadawi originally penned this novella (originally published in 1988) in her early 20s (30 years before the publication), when she herself was a recent medical school graduate. It was originally printed in serial form in an Egyptian magazine. Saadawi mentions in the foreword that when she decided to print it in book format, the Egyptian government actually censored parts of the full manuscript. She also mentions that while this novella is now sometimes used in feminism & women's studies courses, she herself had never read any feminist literature prior to writing her book. She simply observed cultural and gender issues around her and her frustrations compelled her to write and bring light to them. Hence, this novella. Memoirs Of A Woman Doctor, told in first person (I'm not even sure the narrator is given a name) illustrates the life of a young woman who grows up under the traditional perception that she is to marry and be a mother. Our narrator, however, believes a woman should be thought of more than just a housekeeper or baby factory. To prove this, she bucks convention and works her way into a male-dominated medical school. She's initially proud of her accomplishments but after a time runs into some heartaches. She realizes that by age 25 she's focused SO hard on her academics that she's never gotten around to even having her first kiss. Having successfully nabbed that DR. after her name, our narrator suddenly discovers she wants to really experience life and relationships, but still on her own terms. She comes to have an appreciation for her body after years of being taught to be ashamed of it. Through this, she also slowly comes to accept that it's not a sign of weakness to admit that you want someone next to you in life. It's also interesting to read this character learning the nuances of human relationships. In the early parts of the book there's a sort of cold disconnect in her interactions with others, maybe as a way to protect herself from falling into the type of bondage she so feared being locked into. With her patients she is very much distanced and uber-clinical until she has one patient who touches a nerve in her, reminding her that there's a soul behind the name on the form. When it comes to personal relationships, like many of us, it takes a few misses for her to figure out what she really wants out of a partner and what a balanced relationship should consist of. It's a quick read, with a quietness to it. While not gripping or action-packed, it does illustrate some social and cultural struggles that do need attention and discussion. The problems brought to light in this story aren't entirely a thing of the past yet, so the more angles we expose ourselves to, the better. Note To Readers: This edition of this novella, produced by City Lights Books of San Francisco, has been translated from the original Arabic by Catherine Cobham.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Basma

    I've learned a lot, and I felt related to her emotions and fears. I lately been changing my idea of love, I thought it wasn't as beautiful and pure as people say but I don't know i feel a bit different now just new thoughts about it, & if I'm going ever to feel it! It really excited me hehh. Overall her book مذكرات طبيبة is absolutely astonishing and full of feelings and experiences and made me look to "my life" in a new light and new aspects. So I'm really thankful to Nawal and her time in writ I've learned a lot, and I felt related to her emotions and fears. I lately been changing my idea of love, I thought it wasn't as beautiful and pure as people say but I don't know i feel a bit different now just new thoughts about it, & if I'm going ever to feel it! It really excited me hehh. Overall her book مذكرات طبيبة is absolutely astonishing and full of feelings and experiences and made me look to "my life" in a new light and new aspects. So I'm really thankful to Nawal and her time in writing this book and i will definitely start now on reading more of her books and novels :) The only thing that made me sad that it was short i finished it in one day and i didn't feel like i was even putting that much time, but i enjoyed the book and I'm happy. ان شاء الله في معرض الكتاب الجاي بجدة اروح و اخدلي كتب نوال السعداوي اللي لسة ما قريتها لأني للآن عندي كتاب واحد لها و قرأت كتابين للآن بصيغة pdf I hope to enjoy her books as a paper books:) P.S if you want to really enjoy a book have a cup of lemon and honey tea

  18. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    I appreciated the simplicity and honesty of the writing. I anticipated more material about the actual work of being a doctor from a woman's perspective, which is why I picked this up. This is about a woman's struggle for self-reliance and intellectual freedom in Egypt, the medical material is very sparse. The introduction explains that this is the censored, edited version, since the original draft was lost, and it is a first novel by a very young author. So yes, it is a bit self-righteous and un I appreciated the simplicity and honesty of the writing. I anticipated more material about the actual work of being a doctor from a woman's perspective, which is why I picked this up. This is about a woman's struggle for self-reliance and intellectual freedom in Egypt, the medical material is very sparse. The introduction explains that this is the censored, edited version, since the original draft was lost, and it is a first novel by a very young author. So yes, it is a bit self-righteous and unpolished, but the honesty of the material is probably its greatest asset.

  19. 4 out of 5

    J

    English translation available: Memoirs of a Woman Doctor by Nawal El Saadawi (Author) A girl grows up hating herself because she is a girl, but does well in school and becomes a physician to prove herself to others and herself. She learns about herself as she passes through school, marriage, and life in general. The Egyptian author Nawal Saadawi is a controversially outspoken advocate for women and actually is a physician.

  20. 5 out of 5

    L.D.

    This book felt more like a personal manifesto than a story. I was reminded a lot of Ayn Rand's type of forceful and self righteous writing. I did enjoy the progress of self discovery that the nameless protagonist went through. It was a quick read and I would recommend it for anyone who wants a subject to ponder long after they finish reading. This is the type of book that makes me want to self examine myself and write it all down. This book felt more like a personal manifesto than a story. I was reminded a lot of Ayn Rand's type of forceful and self righteous writing. I did enjoy the progress of self discovery that the nameless protagonist went through. It was a quick read and I would recommend it for anyone who wants a subject to ponder long after they finish reading. This is the type of book that makes me want to self examine myself and write it all down.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this one, but I ended up really enjoying it. It is poignant and written with such simple honesty without being harsh or overbearing or angry the way many other books with a woman fighting against the sexist views she is surrounded by in all areas of her life can often be. It was not whiny. It was refreshing. Her blatant honesty about what she thinks, feels and doubts make her someone I can understand. Someone that can be related to. I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this one, but I ended up really enjoying it. It is poignant and written with such simple honesty without being harsh or overbearing or angry the way many other books with a woman fighting against the sexist views she is surrounded by in all areas of her life can often be. It was not whiny. It was refreshing. Her blatant honesty about what she thinks, feels and doubts make her someone I can understand. Someone that can be related to.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Nice little book written by a woman physician from Egypt. It was published many years ago but edited because of its feminist themes. Sadly, the author lost the original manuscript and there is no complete version. This is a short novella about the conflicts and challenges of growing up as a smart woman in Egypt who doesn't fit the expectations of her family. I would have liked to read the full book. Nice little book written by a woman physician from Egypt. It was published many years ago but edited because of its feminist themes. Sadly, the author lost the original manuscript and there is no complete version. This is a short novella about the conflicts and challenges of growing up as a smart woman in Egypt who doesn't fit the expectations of her family. I would have liked to read the full book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Doron Yam

    A life story of an egiptian woman who turned against the culture and society and family and did what her hear guided her to do. A story of a feminist in a country that didnt recognized women until recently. It is also about the price she paid in her personal life in order to achieve her life goals. Interesting to read...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    I'd really like to give this 2.5 stars. I did like it better than God Dies by the Nile- the anger and purpose are more focused and effective. But it still has that same fragmented, over emotional style that just grates on my nerves. Here's my full review: http://thebluebookcase.blogspot.com/2... I'd really like to give this 2.5 stars. I did like it better than God Dies by the Nile- the anger and purpose are more focused and effective. But it still has that same fragmented, over emotional style that just grates on my nerves. Here's my full review: http://thebluebookcase.blogspot.com/2...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Valentine

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A great quick read. It was wonderful to read a feminist perspective through the lens of an egyptian woman. Stories about women breaking the mold are always a must read. I was dissapointed that the strong female character only ultimately found happiness through her romance/ marriage. The book feels incomplete, but the author states parts of the manuscript were "lost". A great quick read. It was wonderful to read a feminist perspective through the lens of an egyptian woman. Stories about women breaking the mold are always a must read. I was dissapointed that the strong female character only ultimately found happiness through her romance/ marriage. The book feels incomplete, but the author states parts of the manuscript were "lost".

  26. 4 out of 5

    Seba

    Bitter, bitter, bitter within excuse. In societies like these being a woman is hard, being different is exhausting, being both is quite honestly... mockery. The problem is in our refusal to submit,we let people push us too far. We become the exact opposite of what is expected of us, but we still fail to become our 'true selves'. You just can't win. A daunting read to say the least. Bitter, bitter, bitter within excuse. In societies like these being a woman is hard, being different is exhausting, being both is quite honestly... mockery. The problem is in our refusal to submit,we let people push us too far. We become the exact opposite of what is expected of us, but we still fail to become our 'true selves'. You just can't win. A daunting read to say the least.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Adriana

    Had to read this for a college course which for me usually means I don't like them but his one I loved! I really liked her determination and drive to change what was set in stone. The way she writes is very good too; she makes it nice and easy, even pleasurable to read her story. Had to read this for a college course which for me usually means I don't like them but his one I loved! I really liked her determination and drive to change what was set in stone. The way she writes is very good too; she makes it nice and easy, even pleasurable to read her story.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ester Elbert

    Great writing but I feel that the book is too short, it doesnt give you a comprehnsive idea of what her life is nor how is the life of a female doctor in Egypt. The book is more a collection of thought than a memoir

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    A very quick read and worth the time. Written in 1957 by a young woman who was pushing the at the constraints of being female in a powerful masculine world. Although it reflects the youthfulness of the writer it certainly had it's controversy as a text and it definitely hit a nerve, and still does! A very quick read and worth the time. Written in 1957 by a young woman who was pushing the at the constraints of being female in a powerful masculine world. Although it reflects the youthfulness of the writer it certainly had it's controversy as a text and it definitely hit a nerve, and still does!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Emma Meadows

    Such a well written novel about a female's journey and fight through life. Such a well written novel about a female's journey and fight through life.

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