The book is more engaging than the film but that's due to 420 pages of details which allow for more background and history to be given in the telling of the tale. it traveled the household with me and I read chapters while cooking and cleaning, etc. If you are unfamiliar with Betty Mahmoody's story, it tells of her decision to accompany her husband Mood, and her daughter Mahtob, on a trip to Iran in 1984.
When I say I couldn't put the book down I mean that fairly literally . Her husband claimed he wanted to visit his family back in his home country and that he wanted a chance to introduce said family to his American wife and daughter.
He refused to allow for his wife and daughter to return to America and, under Iranian law, they were subject to his will.
This book documents their time spent in Iran with Moody, trying to survive in a foreign country, while also attempting to escape back to America.
While I was re-watching bits of this movie a few weeks ago, I read the user comments here at IMDb and was very disturbed. Each naturally thinks the way he or she was raised is better for their children. And the culture clash is between the United States and Iran. The Ayatollah Khomeini was still very much the leader Iran and the Iran-Iraq war had been going on for 4 years and would continue for another 4.
Since it is still bothering me, I decided to write my own comments on the movie and on what has been said here. Iran was quite isolated from much of the world at that time.
After reading her review I promptly bought both books and have been staring at them for the last few months waiting for the right time to dig in.
(When I purchased these books we were at the tail end of an international adoption of our daughter.
Then he becomes an ultra, ultra fundamentalist Muslim so reactionary he makes suicide bombers look moderate. But you can't have a 'woman in peril' with no peril. But the people who help Betty escape are also Iranian.
He demands that Betty dress and behave how he thinks a good Muslim wife should and wants their daughter to be raised to do the same. If she wants to return to America, it is fine with him, but Mahtob will remain with him in Iran. ' Women in peril' movies are always a guilty pleasure and Sally Field is a good actress. Alfred Molina is a wonderful actor, but it's hard to do much with a character that undergoes such a radical change in his basic character in a matter of weeks. Virtually all the characters in the movie except Betty and Mahtob are Iranian. What unfairness there is lies not in maligning the Iranian people (it doesn't do that) but in implying (and sometimes saying explicitly) that the Iranian culture is inferior just because it is not westernized. That doesn't mean Moody doesn't have a different point of view which is equally true and equally untrue (and which, I gather from the comments, was explored in another movie.) But ' Not Without My Daughter' doesn't pretend to be a sociological examination into the two sides of a dispute.