- File Size: 1270 KB
- Print Length: 384 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 081297106X
- Publisher: Random House; Reprint edition (December 30, 2003)
- Publication Date: December 30, 2003
- Sold by: Random House LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000FC0XY6
- Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,071 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books Kindle Edition
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|Length: 384 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
The style of punishment was gruesome and done publicly usually to force compliance with their laws. Our writer did move to the United States and went to college here studying English Literature. She took her knowledge back to Iran to discuss relationships in the stories (fiction) and draw comparisons to their own relationships. She left the university in Tehran after so much bullying against her and others. She invited several women to continue studying in her home. She couldn't invite men, because Iran at that time worked very hard to keep the sexes separate unless it was a spouse, parent or sibling. The lessons learned through literature was fascinating and was shared throughout the book. But it was these relationships and how they were handled in such a controlling regime. I really liked this book. It was insightful of another culture during a particular time and if you are curious about that, you will get a lot out of this book.
Azar Nafisi's writing style lacked a lot of dialog, but made up for it with lots of descriptive language and powerful comparisons. The dialog that was included was appropriately placed within the memoir. Azar Nafisi is a talented story teller and while you read her book you can really envision the situations she was in and experience her feelings. A powerful composition made to compare Azars students to classic Greek characters is “Their mistakes, like the tragic flaw in a classic traded, become essential to their development and maturity.” (Nafisi 223). She uses Greek characters hamartia’s to relate to her young students. The student’s choices and mistakes help them become who they are by the end of their final class. Another great comparison was used to compare the students to some of Jane Austen's characters, “Austen’s protagonists are private individuals set in public places. Their desire for privacy and reflection is continually being adjusted to their situation within a very small community which keeps them under its constant scrutiny. The balance between the public and private is essential to this world.” (Nafisi 267). This comparison was used to show how important he class was for students to have their own private space to be themselves without strict laws getting in the way. The examples Azar uses are good for keeping the reader engaged and help them develop a clear image of Azar’s students. The most appropriate audience for this book is someone who doesn't expect a lot of intense action or dialog, but can appreciate hearing personal complex thoughts and feelings.
Even though I've never been in any situations similar to Azar Nafisi I was able to feel for her and think of points in my life that I felt similar emotions to hers. For example, I can relate to her students and herself feeling trapped without a private life. Being in high school while being controlled by adults can feel like I have no private life, but this is so different and less intense compared to Azar Nafisi’s experiences, regardless she makes it easy to relate to her emotions while reading the book. Azar did an incredible job of describing her students on a very personal level. She made it easy to understand their internal and external struggles. To a degree you were able to choose who to like and dislike, but most of Nafisi’s descriptions determined who you would trust and distrust. Nafisi’s explanations of characters struggles helped me better understand the characters as a whole, like this explanation of a characters relationship with wearing her scarf and the governments mandated dress code “…the revolution that imposed the scarf on others did not relive Mahshid of her loneliness. Before the revolution, she could in a sense take pride in her isolation. At that time she had worn the scarf as a testament to her faith. Her decision was a voluntary act. When the revolution forced the scarf on others, her actions became meaningless.” (Nafisi 13).By explaining the shift in the meaning of Mahshid wearing a scarf it allows the reader to better relate to her and have sympathy for her situation.
Azar did not write this book in chronical order. Instead the book jumps around in time from when she worked at a small university, to a large university, to her private class, and to moving to America, all of this is talked about but not in order of when the memories and situations happened. The way she does this doesn’t confuse the reader because she makes it clear what point in time she is describing within each chapter. This book was engaging the whole way through. Azar holds the reader’s attention by emerging them in the lives and emotional struggles of not only her students but her own life as well. Azar writes about many examples of the Islamic state restricting women’s rights and freedoms, she writes about how this effected students and herself. One student, Vida, is written about expressing her anger when she showed her rage regarding the regime’s new laws “‘The law?’ Vida interrupted him. ‘You guys came in and changed the laws. Is it the law? So was wearing the yellow star in Nazi Germany, should all the Jews have worn the star because it was the blasted law?” (Nafisi 134). By sharing Vida’s outrage with the reader they can become invested in Azar’s students’ lives. While reading this book I learned about what life was like for the people, particularly women, in Iran during the time Azar Nafisi lived there. I now have a better understanding of the restrictions the government put in place and the terrible things people unfairly suffered through.
Overall I am very pleased with Reading Lolita in Tehran. I learned about Iran and how their revolution affected the country’s women. I would recommend this book to anyone, primarily to anyone interested in modern history, learning about other cultures, women’s rights, and education.
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