Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
Lisa Halaby grew up in the USA with a Swedish-American mother and an Arab-American father. Her father was an influential man involved in the air industry and governance, at one time becoming the CEO of Pan Am. They moved around a lot and Lisa learnt to become self-sufficient and avoid attention.
After graduating from Princeton in 1974, Lisa worked in Tehran, leaving just before the beginning of the revolution. Her father introduced her to King Hussein of Jordan. After a whirlwind romance they married and he named her Queen Noor Al Hussein.
This is Queen Noor’s memoir. She has a clear, concise and self-deprecating writing style that is a pleasure to read. It was interesting to read how an American 26 year old came to be the Queen of Jordan and to read her perspective on the many upheavals in Jordan and the surrounding region in the 1980s and 1990s. I was particularly interested to read about the humanitarian works that she and King Hussein pioneered. It was good to read a first hand account of these.
I admit that I started to skim read the book when I was only 1/5 of the way through, partly because I’m distracted by my imminent relocation to Australia from Norway and my sorrow at being separated from my family for the past 5 weeks while I finish my contract in Norway and they settle back into Australia. The other reason that I skim read is because I have read a lot about the history of the region and I understand that Queen Noor was using her memoir as a unique opportunity to give her own perspective on events, especially those that drew international criticism upon Jordan or herself but that was not interesting to me so I started to be selective about what I read in the remainder of the book. I haven’t yet been to Jordan but reading this book made me even more enthusiastic to visit this ancient land.