Burned Alive
Goodreads ratings
3.98 / 5

"Burned Alive" Summary

By Souad

nonfiction | 359 pages | Published in NaN

ISBN_13: 9780553816303

Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A harrowing true story of a woman who survives an attempted honor killing and finds the strength to rebuild her life.


In "Burned Alive" by Souad, readers are introduced to a powerful and harrowing true story of survival and resilience. This memoir recounts the horrifying experiences of the author, Souad, who was the victim of an attempted honor killing in her native country of Palestine. Souad's courageous account sheds light on the oppressive and deeply ingrained cultural practices that perpetuate violence against women. Through her story, readers gain a better understanding of the importance of challenging and changing these harmful traditions.

Brief Synopsis

"Burned Alive" takes place in a small Palestinian village, where Souad grows up in a conservative and oppressive environment. The story is set against the backdrop of a patriarchal society that strictly enforces traditional gender roles and norms. Souad's life takes a dramatic turn when she becomes pregnant outside of marriage, a shameful act that brings dishonor upon her family.

Facing enormous pressure from her family and community, Souad's own brother-in-law is assigned the task of restoring the family's honor by killing her. In a gruesome attack, Souad is doused in gasoline and set on fire. Miraculously, she survives the horrific ordeal and manages to escape to Europe, where she finds refuge and begins to rebuild her life.

Main Characters

SouadThe courageous protagonist who survives an attempted honor killing and shares her story with the world.
Souad's FamilyRepresents the oppressive and traditional values of the Palestinian society.
Souad's Brother-in-lawAssigned the task of killing Souad to restore the family's honor.

Summary of Different Story Points over Chapters

Chapter 1: A Life of Oppression

  • Introduces Souad's background in a small Palestinian village and the strict gender roles imposed on women.
  • Describes the oppressive environment and the consequences of defying societal norms.

Chapter 2: Forbidden Love

  • Souad's forbidden love affair with a man from a different village.
  • The discovery of Souad's pregnancy brings shame upon her family.

Chapter 3: The Honor Killing

  • Souad's brother-in-law is assigned the task of killing her to restore the family's honor.
  • The gruesome attack and Souad's miraculous survival.

Chapter 4: Escape to Europe

  • Souad's journey to Europe to seek refuge and escape further persecution.
  • Her struggles to adapt to a new culture and build a new life.

Chapter 5: Empowerment and Advocacy

  • Souad's determination to raise awareness about honor killings and empower other women.
  • Her efforts to change cultural practices and promote gender equality.

Main Events

  • Souad's forbidden love affair and subsequent pregnancy.
  • The brutal honor killing attempt and Souad's survival.
  • Souad's escape to Europe and her journey to rebuild her life.
  • Souad's advocacy work to raise awareness about honor killings and empower other women.

Themes and Insights

Gender Inequality and Oppression

  • The book highlights the deeply entrenched gender inequality in traditional societies, where women are subjected to oppressive practices and restrictions.
  • It sheds light on the violence and discrimination faced by women who dare to challenge societal norms.

Cultural Traditions and Honor

  • The story delves into the destructive consequences of rigid cultural traditions that prioritize honor over individual lives.
  • It explores the complexities surrounding honor killings and the urgent need for cultural change.

Resilience and Survival

  • Souad's story showcases the strength and resilience of survivors who refuse to be silenced.
  • It serves as a testament to the human capacity to overcome immense adversity and rebuild a life after trauma.

Reader's Takeaway

"Burned Alive" is a raw and eye-opening memoir that exposes the brutal reality of honor killings and the subjugation of women in traditional societies. Souad's story serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of challenging oppressive cultural practices and advocating for gender equality. This book will leave readers with a renewed sense of empathy, a deeper understanding of the struggles faced by women around the world, and a call to action to promote change.


"Burned Alive" by Souad is an unforgettable memoir that sheds light on the dark reality of honor killings and the oppression faced by women in traditional societies. Souad's harrowing story serves as a powerful catalyst for change and urges readers to question and challenge harmful cultural practices. This book is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the ongoing struggle for gender equality and the resilience of survivors.

Burned Alive FAQ

  1. What is the book 'Burned Alive' about?

    The book 'Burned Alive' is a memoir by Souad, a Palestinian woman, recounting her experience of being the victim of an honor killing and surviving being set on fire by her own family.

  2. Is 'Burned Alive' based on a true story?

    Yes, 'Burned Alive' is a true story based on the personal experiences of Souad.

  3. What themes does 'Burned Alive' explore?

    'Burned Alive' explores themes of gender inequality, honor and shame, domestic violence, and the struggle for survival.

  4. Is 'Burned Alive' a graphic or disturbing book?

    Yes, 'Burned Alive' contains graphic and disturbing descriptions of violence and abuse.

  5. Who would enjoy reading 'Burned Alive'?

    Readers interested in memoirs, stories of resilience, and social issues would find 'Burned Alive' compelling.

  6. Are there any trigger warnings for 'Burned Alive'?

    Yes, 'Burned Alive' contains descriptions of violence, abuse, and self-harm. It may be triggering for some readers.

  7. What is the writing style of 'Burned Alive'?

    'Burned Alive' is written in a straightforward and raw style, reflecting Souad's personal voice and emotions.

  8. Is 'Burned Alive' available in other languages?

    Yes, 'Burned Alive' has been translated into multiple languages, including English, French, and German.

  9. Is there a sequel to 'Burned Alive'?

    No, 'Burned Alive' does not have a sequel.

  10. Has 'Burned Alive' received any awards or recognition?

    Yes, 'Burned Alive' has received international acclaim and has been translated into numerous languages.