Arts & Entertainment

Daughter in 'Not Without My Daughter' writes her story

December 11, 2015
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Mahtob Mahmoody
Mahtob Mahmoody. Courtesy HarperCollins Christian Publishing

At six years old, Mahtob Mahmoody crossed the Turkish mountains, led by her mother, Betty Mahmoody, in a harrowing escape from the pair’s abusive father and husband, who had taken them from America to Iran for what was supposed to be a two-week vacation and instead turned into a year and a half of abuse and captivity.

Betty Mahmoody documented her story in the book “Not Without My Daughter,” which became an international bestseller and was subsequently made into a 1991 movie, with the same title, starring Sally Field.

Now, Mahtob Mahmoody, a Grand Rapids resident, is telling her story.

On Dec. 1, Mahtob Mahmoody released her memoir, “My Name is Mahtob,” which tells the follow-up story to “Not Without My Daughter.”

Nelson Books — an imprint of Thomas Nelson, a part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing — is the book’s publisher.

Fleeing to forgiveness

Mahtob Mahmoody recounts what she experienced and endured as a "precocious yet frightened girl" and her life after fleeing Iran: living in fear of re-abduction, battling recurring nightmares and anxiety attacks, taking on an assumed name and surviving life-threatening illness — all under the shadow of her father.

Mahtob struggled with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, the difficulties of rootlessness and exile and “a festering bitterness toward her father.”

Mahmoody also recounts watching her mother’s rise to fame via her book, "Not Without My Daughter.”

Betty Mahmoody became a bestselling author and traveled around the world, doing interviews with the media elite of the time, including Barbara Walters, Maria Shriver and Larry King.

Mahtob also took a front seat to the Hollywood filming of her family’s tale.

My Name Is Mahtob” is a story of “triumph over a childhood of suffering to build a life of peace and forgiveness.”

The book takes readers from Michigan to Iran and from Ankara, Turkey to Paris, depicting the resilience of “a wounded soul healed by faith in God’s goodness and in his care and love.”

Mahtob also reveals how she liberated herself from a life of fear, learning to forgive the father who had shattered her life and discovering the related joy and peace.

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