From Publishers Weekly
In her new memoir, American-born journalist Moaveni (Lipstick Jihad
) returns to Tehran in 2005 to cover Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's election for Time
magazine, hoping to make the city her permanent home. Her plans are complicated by the standoff with the U.S. over Iran's nuclear program, as well as several unexpected turns in her life. She falls in love, moves in with her boyfriend, becomes pregnant, gets married—in that order—in a country that has no word for boyfriend and no qualms about brutally beating unmarried pregnant women. Through her own experience, Moaveni reports on the growing apathy of the people of Iran, a society burdened by staggering inflation and tensions between religion, political oppression and secular life, the latter ever more enticing through ubiquitous, illegal satellite television. Gradually, the idealism and religious faith that characterized Moaveni's younger years wane. With the birth of her son, her misgivings come to a head, compounded by the spying, threats and intimidation she experienced at the hands of the Ministry of Intelligence. Moaveni, who now lives in London with her family, has penned a story of coming-of-age in two cultures with a keen eye and a measured tone. (Feb.)
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In this intimate look at the modern Iranian middle class, Moaveni, a journalist and the author of Lipstick Jihad (2005), blends her own experiences in Iran with her primary reporting subject: the dubious Tehran reaction to the ascendance of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. An Iranian American living in Lebanon, Moaveni unexpectedly fell in love when she returned to her homeland on assignment. This opened her eyes to a whole new aspect of Iranian life, that of young couples. She writes extensively about how the country’s troubled economic situation forces twenty-somethings to postpone marriage and independence from their families. Iran’s “brain drain” is well documented, but the reasons professionals grudgingly leave Iran have rarely been discussed by Western media, which instead focuses on Ahmadinejad’s rantings. Moaveni tracks the country’s increased social conservatism, and reveals both expensive marriage traditions and governmental manipulation. This perfect blend of political commentary and social observation is an excellent choice for readers interested in going beyond the headlines to gain an in-depth understanding of twenty-first-century Iran. --Colleen Mondor