New York Book Festival Honorable Mention - Best Memoir
From the U.S. to Saudi Arabia, Marjory Henderson vividly details her family’s life for the five years her husband worked in Saudi Arabia. The culture shock, hardships, and valuable lessons they could have gained nowhere else and how their family was strengthened through faith and friends. A fantastic glimpse into the day to day life of an American mother, raising her family and living in Saudi Arabia.
When I stepped on the plane in Denver, Colorado, I had little idea of the adventures which lay ahead. There was a stop in New York City and a layover in that airport. There was a stop in Rome, Italy, and a layover in that airport. Then it was on to Beirut, Lebanon. That trip took 32 hours. I was exhausted! We were in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia a week after landing in Beirut. It was my husband’s new job which caused us to leave the green of Colorado to go to the brown of Saudi Arabia. He plunked our family down in the midst of a nation where five-time-a-day calls to prayer were heard, where Islam was not just a religion but was a way of life. He put me in a place where I would exchange my religion for a relationship with the living Lord. Half way across the world, full of intrigue, holding both joyful and painful experiences, Saudi Arabia became a second home for me.
Marjory Henderson can best be described as a child of God. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13) is her motto.
Reviewed By Emma Megan for Readers’ Favorite –
As Living Stones: My Five Years in Saudi Arabia by Marjory Henderson is a personal and emotionally charged recollection of completely foreign circumstances. With great humility, Marjory Henderson has written a short, intimate memoir that is a tribute to the five years spent in Saudi Arabia, 45 years ago. Marjory Henderson and her two preschool-age sons moved from Colorado to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, after her husband received a job offer in agriculture. Marjory tells how it was for her family to settle in a very different culture than their own, with people who lived by ancient traditions. She relates the contrasts to the United States, the language barriers she faced, and how she broke down the cultural walls to make Saudi Arabia her second home.
As Living Stones by Marjory Henderson is an incredible picture of a new beginning in a difficult place of an American woman living five transformative years in Muslim culture. Marjory writes with great honesty about a Saudi Arabia that wouldn’t allow women to drive a car or ride in a taxi unaccompanied; a Saudi Arabia that still differs from the United States in every area of life, from spiritual practices to severe punishments for both men and women who did not respect the cultural norms. This unexpected memoir contains valuable information about Saudi Arabia’s living conditions, religion, holidays, dress code, marriage customs, royal culture, and more. It’s a unique and challenging read filled with adventures and moments of hope, humor, spirituality, and clear-eyed observation.