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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Between two worlds
This beautifully written memoir will appeal to expats all over the world who, as Moaveni puts it, "perpetually exist in each world feeling the tug of the other." (p. 243) It will especially appeal to the young and hip "hyphenateds" who grew up in America but have always felt lost between two worlds, that of their family's culture and that of their adopted country. The...
Published on 4 April 2005 by Dennis Littrell

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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not a great book
This book is a very ordinary one. To some extent its one of those 'black and white' descriptions of life in Iran. it never goes deep into the life of the young and especially educated people in Iran and doesn't tell you much about the fundamental changes which have happened and are still happening in the iranian society. The author, as she describes in the book, is more...
Published on 14 Sept. 2008 by Rex


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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Between two worlds, 4 April 2005
By 
Dennis Littrell (SoCal) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This beautifully written memoir will appeal to expats all over the world who, as Moaveni puts it, "perpetually exist in each world feeling the tug of the other." (p. 243) It will especially appeal to the young and hip "hyphenateds" who grew up in America but have always felt lost between two worlds, that of their family's culture and that of their adopted country. The fact that Moaveni is Iranian-American really doesn't matter because her story will be familiar to all who have had to leave their homeland and grow up in a different world.
Moaveni was actually born in Palo Alto, California to secular Islamic Iranian immigrants who did indeed leave Iran during the tumultuous days of the Iranian Revolution nearly thirty years ago. Her story is about returning to Tehran during the years leading up to 9/11 and working as a stringer and then as a reporter for Time Magazine and other publications. Hers is a very personal story, as all memoirs are, in which she attempts to capture the estrangement that one feels being, as the subtitle has it, "Iranian in America and American in Iran."
Thanks to Moaveni's obvious love of language and some very nice editing by Kate Darton at Public Affairs, she has written a most engaging and strikingly vivid account. To be honest I could not, as the reviewer's cliche has it, "put it down." I read it in one gulp absolutely delighted with Moaveni's vivid, candid and honest narrative. She is hip, sophisticated beyond her years, stylish, and very well informed. Her prose approaches poetry and because she is always concrete, it is never boring or estranged from the needs of the reader, as memoirs can sometimes be. We learn how it feels to be in love in a country where couples may not hold hands in public; how it feels to party in a land where parties are forbidden except as decreed by the state; how it feels to eat a pomegranate in the bathtub after being harassed by secret agents of the ayatollahs; how it feels to be beaten by street thugs (the ignorant Basiji, the brown shirts of the mullahs); how it feels to wear the veil and the chador and to hide one's hair and femininity and to be hit on by hypocritical clerics offering "temporary marriages"; how it feels to live with "the central dilemma of life under the Islamic regime, and its culture of lies--whether to observe the taboos and the restrictions, or resist them, by living as if they didn't exist." (p. 74)
Moaveni lets us in on the daily lives of her family and friends as they try to make sense of their place in the world. We taste the foods that they eat, the highly spiced lamb stews, the sour cherry jams, the lavash-wrapped dates, servings of "four-days-in-the-making" sweet halvah. We hear their voices and learn what they think of America, of the mullahs, of the secular society, of how one acts in public and in private. I was surprised at how Westernized Tehran really is despite the best efforts of the morality police, and yet how tenaciously Iranian are its people. They speak of the betrayal of the revolution by the ayatollahs, and the failure of the reformers. They turn out in droves to vote even though their votes have little real political power, only the power of protest. And I was especially impressed by Azadeh Moaveni's ability to navigate between the cultures without prejudice, giving each its due and each its detriment.
I was also impressed with the unhesitant candor of her expression. She writes lovingly of her maman and her estranged father, but quotes them even while they say things that surely they would not like to see in print. I also loved Moaveni's independence and courage. She is a woman who can speak her mind with the voice and insightfulness of a gifted novelist. Here is an example:
"As an American, I believed in unconditional love, not the contingent affection one had to earn as an Iranian woman. Iranian-style love, though extravagant, poetic, and intense, came with a prenuptial agreement. You had to promise to adhere to tradition, respect boundaries, pretend a great deal, and keep yourself decently coiffed at all times. You were not entitled to love, it seemed, simply by being who you were; but by fulfilling expectations." (p. 136)
Another:
She (somewhat playfully) asks the Iranian president's chief of staff, will she become Iran's first female ambassador. He replies, "No...If there are any female ambassadors at all, they will be Islamist, chadori women, certainly not you, a secular, partial Iranian." Cut to the quick, Moaveni observes, "I tried to detach myself from the moment by writing a headline in my head. Sympathetic Envoy of Vile Government Delivers Horrifying But Irrefutable Proof that Azadeh Is an American." He reads her face and then "held out a plate of green grapes, as though to distract a child gearing up to fling herself to the floor and wail." (pp. 120-121)
There is so much in this book that is alive and vital, that is evocative of our times and of a young woman's life at the razor's edge of the great clash of cultures, that it should be high on the reading list of anyone who wants to understand what is happening in the world today as globalization squeezes us all closer and closer together.
In a moment of despair, as Moaveni realizes that as a female journalist in Revolutionary Iran, her life leaves a lot to be desired, she thinks, but does not say, "...my private misery was highly specialized and therefore irrelevant." (p. 168)
This glorious memoir--and I mean "glorious" in the sense that Moaveni triumphs over both the small-minded "ayatollah dinosaurs" and mall-minded Americans with her strength, her articulation, and her honesty--proves otherwise.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful insight into the life of an exile Iranian discovering the unfortunate truths of today's Iran..., 2 Feb. 2008
By 
Dr. P. GHANBARI (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran (Paperback)
Fantastic book written beautifully by a talented young Iranian - I recommended this read to my friends as I think it gives people a good insight into the struggles that the people of modern day Iran (and the Islamic regime) face...I hope to see more of Ms Moaveni's work in the near future...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great insight in the spirit of the Iranian Youth, 15 Jun. 2010
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This review is from: Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran (Paperback)
Read this novel after Moaveni's second novel (HoneyMoon in Tehran) and following a fabulous trip to Iran. Highly recommended to better understand Iran that unfortunately constantly stands under the wrong spotlight these days; concealing a warm and welcoming people that live in a beautiful country.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, moving insight into a complex land, 9 Feb. 2005
This book is a stunning debut. It is beautifully written, with an exceptional humour and lightness of touch. It gives a window onto a country and a society about which there is much prejudice but little understanding.
Lipstick Jihad gives a particular insight into the youth of Iran. For a country with one of the youngest demographic spreads in the world, that is crucial for anyone who wnats to know where Iran may be going, and how it is likely to get there.
As Iran climbs higer up the foreign policy agenda, policy-makers, Iran-watchers and lay-people alike would all do well to read what Moaveni has to say.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read, 27 Oct. 2012
Although at times this could be a difficult read, the author is at pains to describe her emotional journey. One is left with a sort of sadness, that there may be a happier ending round the corner. Having been married to an Algerian and lived in the midst of his family in Algiers for four years, I understand her turmoil. I would recommend this book to those who really want to understand the cultural differences between west and east, how values differ and because they differ that doesn't mean a choice of good or bad. In fact very educational.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not a great book, 14 Sept. 2008
By 
Rex (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran (Paperback)
This book is a very ordinary one. To some extent its one of those 'black and white' descriptions of life in Iran. it never goes deep into the life of the young and especially educated people in Iran and doesn't tell you much about the fundamental changes which have happened and are still happening in the iranian society. The author, as she describes in the book, is more focused on things like dating, hijab, drinks, parties and the police and really doesn't speak much about real changes the revolutionary generation has gone through in the last 30 years. All the chapters are giving the same message and by the end of the book your understanding would be that Iran is the worst place on the world to live with depressed ambition-less people.
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