But Martha's story of coming to Saudi Arabia from Texas, to be with her husband and supposedly to computerize the farm's records, is interesting not for the technology (although the means used to bring wheat fields and even fish farms to the middle of the desert are fascinating) but for the tale of being an American woman with her head uncovered in a land where nomad women cover all but their eyes, and city women cover even those; being a Christian in a place where stores are not legally allowed to be open during the prescribed times when Muslims pray (although the book does not delve much into the author's faith; nothing to offend an agnostic like me); and of course, being a foreigner in a land very far from home.
Little things, such as the items Safeway can't carry in Riyadh or the picture of transporting a camel to market in the back of a pickup truck, give a much fuller picture of everyday life in Saudi Arabia than any impersonal summary of conditions could. Since the Kirks lived some distance from cities or even towns, the Bedouins around their farm are given just as much or more attention as the urbanized people, and the contrast between the rich farm owners' lifestyle and that of the laborers from Pakistan and Sri Lanka who work on the farm is quite telling. The book makes you think about your own lifestyle: could you manage under the conditions of the nomads, or even of Martha Kirk without the things Westerners are usually accustomed to having (such as flush toilets)? I'm not sure that I could, and by American standards I don't live that lavishly.
But many Americans will be pleased to know that birthday cakes and chocolate chip cookies seem to have been a hit with people of every nationality. <grin>