After following Betty and Mahtob Mahmoody through their harrowing escape from Iran, I was eager to see how their lives changed once they returned to America in “For the Love Of A Child.” Betty and Mahtob initially must decide if they should assume new identities and hide from Moody or if it would be better to reclaim their lives. Through a family friend, Betty is offered a book and movie deal almost immediately upon her return and she decides that drawing attention to herself could do more to save her and Mahtob than hiding. Her story catapults her into becoming a spokesperson for abducted children, through which she learns how truly lucky she was to be able to escape with Mahtob.
Betty included in the book the stories of several other parents who had their children taken to foreign countries, which was very interesting. I was really surprised by how many people had stories similar to Betty’s, which did not end nearly as happily. Her fight with the legal system was also extremely frustrating. She isn’t able to get a divorce because the due process requirement of our country requires her to notify her husband, which she obviously doesn’t want to do since she is trying to prevent him from finding them and kidnapping her daughter. Although she is granted custody of Mahtob, she learns that even if an American court keeps a child’s passport, a foreign national will be able to travel to his home country with the child under his visa, completing circumventing the American court system and passport issue. In this respect, the U.S. legal system really fails all parents trying to prevent their spouse from taking their children to another country unilaterally.
This sequel was exactly what a reader of the first book would want. Betty provides so many details about the first book, the movie, how she protected herself, and how she and Mahtob moved forward and reclaimed their lives in the same conversational manner as the first book. Again, the book was a well written riveting tale. If you enjoyed the first book, this one is a must read!