Mahtob Mahmoody’s story is one of immense courage, especially considering the violence she witnessed and lived through at such a young age.
Her story was first documented in Not Without My Daughter, written by her mother, Betty Mahmoody, and eventually adapted into a Lifetime television movie.
Mahtob and Betty were taken to Mahtob’s father’s home country of Iran when she was a child, forced to live under his strict, often violent roof, and an even more oppressive regime. Mahtob was prompted to jump tearfully between her mother and father several times when he almost killed his wife during seemingly random fits of rage. Ultimately, the fierce bond between Betty and Mahtob was only amplified as they tried to escape their imprisonment and return to the States.
Mahtob frequently describes how her relationship with God has freed her in so many ways, allowing her to eventually forgive her father's unjust treatment, although she never forgot.
The peace she found within herself and with a higher power resonates in her writing. It's sad, compelling--but never dreary. Hope shines through in every event she recalls--fleeing Iran in fear of her father's pursuit, constantly looking over their shoulders even once they are back on American soil.
It’s a memoir teeming with self-reflection, emphasizing quite a few times how self-aware Mahtob has always been, even as a young girl.
In some places, it’s astonishing to read that, even though she did experience moments of anger at her father, sadness, and paralyzing fear of being found and forced to return to Iran, she maintains a maturity beyond her years.
My Name Is Mahtob is available now.