Monday, March 24, 2008

Keeping up Appearances

Gamrah is one of the four main characters in The Girls of Riyadh who unfortunately is discarded by her new husband and left to raise their new baby son in her country of Saudi Arabia. While going through depression her mother seeks to give her help:

“By summer, Gamrah’s mother decided to do something to cheer up this daughter of hers who had grown old before her time. They traveled together—with the rest of the family—for a month to Lebanon, leaving the nursing child with his eldest aunt, Aunt Naflah.”

“In Lebanon, Gamrah submitted to the makeover procedure called ‘tinsmithing’. It began with a nose job. It ended up with sessions of facial chemical peeling. The regime also consisted of a strict diet and exercise programme under the supervision of an extremely elegant specialist, and Gamrah topped it all off with a new hairstyle and colouring at the hands of the most famous and skilled hairdresser in all of Lebanon.”

“Gamrah returned to Riyadh prettier than when she had left. To spare herself the disapproval of her conservative relatives, she told everyone who saw her before she managed to strip off the dressing on her nose that her nose had been broken in an accident while she was in Lebanon, which had resulted in reconstructive surgery. Not cosmetic surgery—since cosmetic surgery is against the laws of Islam.”

Rajaa Alsanea, The Girls of Riyadh (London: Fig Tree, Penguin, 2007), 161.

A review of The Girls of Riyadh is posted at Reviewing Books and Movies.

Dr. Geoff Pound.

Image: “sessions of facial chemical peeling…”