Aided by the author of Midnight Express, Mahmoody, who's been interviewed by Barbara Walters and covered on ""20/20,"" here...



Aided by the author of Midnight Express, Mahmoody, who's been interviewed by Barbara Walters and covered on ""20/20,"" here delivers a riveting account of her now-famous ordeal in Iran, where she and her young daughter were held hostage for a year and a half by her Shiite Muslim husband. In 1986, American Betty Mahmoody agreed to travel to Iran with her Iranian-born husband, Moody, and their four-year, old daughter, Mahtob (""Moonbeam""). The trip was to last two weeks, during which time they would visit Moody's Islamic fundamentalist family, whom Moody had seen infrequently over the years (having been trained as an anesthesiologist in the US). Upon arrival, Betty found conditions and customs that she was unprepared for: the Iranians attacked their food ""like herds of untamed animals""; their bathrooms, reeking of mildew and worse, featured water hoses instead of toilet paper; and everyone, well, smelled But more serious matters awaited her: when the two weeks of the visit were up, Moody informed her that she and Mahtob would be staying in Iran with him. Bound in his sister's dismal fortress home, eating unsanitary meals in squalid conditions, and subjected to an increasingly depressed Moody, Betty tried frantically to escape--to little avail, partly because without her daughter--whom Moody insisted on keeping--she would not leave. The contest of wills was doctrinaire, real, and thorough: having had an IUD inserted against Moody's wishes, Betty ripped it out after becoming afraid he'd discover it, and felt compelled to cut it into tiny pieces and toss it out her window because she feared he'd search the trash. When Betty found a way out, it involved stealing across the Turkisk border with smugglers, by horse. A hair-raising escape brought her and Mahtob back to the US, where they now live under assumed names, fearful of Moody's spies. With film rights already sold to MGM, this gripping tale--which offers a frightening (though sometimes simplistic) glimpse at life in Khomeini's Iran--will attract a large audience.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 1987


Page Count: -

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1987