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My Persian Paradox: Memories of an Iranian Girl

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In the fall of 1978, during the Islamic revolution in Iran, Shabnam is seven years old watching and trying to make sense of constant changes. Her uncle and his American wife leave Iran for the United States in fear for her life after she is threatened by Islamic fundamentalists. Her mother, estranged from her father, stays behind and without her brother’s support -now in A In the fall of 1978, during the Islamic revolution in Iran, Shabnam is seven years old watching and trying to make sense of constant changes. Her uncle and his American wife leave Iran for the United States in fear for her life after she is threatened by Islamic fundamentalists. Her mother, estranged from her father, stays behind and without her brother’s support -now in America-, she returns to a bad marriage. The revolution brings new changes. They must wear Hijab outside and live a secret life inside. The war with Iraq starts and fear of missile attacks drags them in and out of Tehran. Her Marxist father burns his books to avoid arrest and possible execution. As a teenager, Shabnam is apprehended by the regime’s guardians for wearing nail polish or walking with a boy. With dreams of becoming an independent and free woman, she aims for college but land in marriage as a way to free herself from the parents' discipline and the regime’s watch. Life doesn’t wait and she moves forward through trial and error, ever seeking independence. She is determined but life throws rocks. My Persian Paradox: Memories of an Iranian Girl is a tale of resilience facing oppression and dictatorship along with fighting with narrow traditional and restrictive cultural rules. This memoir is a journey of self-discovery, mother-daughter relationship obstacles, forbidden love, and the universal desire for freedom. www.mypersianparadox.com


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In the fall of 1978, during the Islamic revolution in Iran, Shabnam is seven years old watching and trying to make sense of constant changes. Her uncle and his American wife leave Iran for the United States in fear for her life after she is threatened by Islamic fundamentalists. Her mother, estranged from her father, stays behind and without her brother’s support -now in A In the fall of 1978, during the Islamic revolution in Iran, Shabnam is seven years old watching and trying to make sense of constant changes. Her uncle and his American wife leave Iran for the United States in fear for her life after she is threatened by Islamic fundamentalists. Her mother, estranged from her father, stays behind and without her brother’s support -now in America-, she returns to a bad marriage. The revolution brings new changes. They must wear Hijab outside and live a secret life inside. The war with Iraq starts and fear of missile attacks drags them in and out of Tehran. Her Marxist father burns his books to avoid arrest and possible execution. As a teenager, Shabnam is apprehended by the regime’s guardians for wearing nail polish or walking with a boy. With dreams of becoming an independent and free woman, she aims for college but land in marriage as a way to free herself from the parents' discipline and the regime’s watch. Life doesn’t wait and she moves forward through trial and error, ever seeking independence. She is determined but life throws rocks. My Persian Paradox: Memories of an Iranian Girl is a tale of resilience facing oppression and dictatorship along with fighting with narrow traditional and restrictive cultural rules. This memoir is a journey of self-discovery, mother-daughter relationship obstacles, forbidden love, and the universal desire for freedom. www.mypersianparadox.com

30 review for My Persian Paradox: Memories of an Iranian Girl

  1. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    4.5 stars I read The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali a few months ago and really enjoyed it. It is a historical fiction novel set in Iran and is the first book I have ever read with that setting. That experience piqued my interest in searching for a nonfiction book set in the same country in order to expand my knowledge of Iranian culture. I found it in My Persian Paradox. This book is a memoir, told in first person, by Shabnam Curtis. It takes place from the late 1970s when Shabnam is a little g 4.5 stars I read The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali a few months ago and really enjoyed it. It is a historical fiction novel set in Iran and is the first book I have ever read with that setting. That experience piqued my interest in searching for a nonfiction book set in the same country in order to expand my knowledge of Iranian culture. I found it in My Persian Paradox. This book is a memoir, told in first person, by Shabnam Curtis. It takes place from the late 1970s when Shabnam is a little girl to 2004 when she immigrates to the United States. We get a very good picture of life for Tehranians during that time frame. In general, it is an oppressive time for the people, women especially. Shabnam knows early on she wants to be an independent woman, something essentially unheard of in Iran. As she tells us the story of her journey to achieve her goals we find that she comes up against many challenges and roadblocks in her quest for a life of freedom. But she perseveres when many would have given up. The story is truly inspirational. I was awed by how Shabnam rises up from the ashes time and time again in her efforts to free herself from a life of totalitarianism and emotional emptiness. Being written in first person, the book gives us a bird’s eye view of Shabnam’s thoughts and emotions, which adds real depth to the narrative. Her writing is clear and very easy to follow, something not always found in nonfiction. And I learned a great deal about Iranian politics and even more about life in Iran, which were major goals of mine in selecting this read. I understand Shabnam is writing a sequel to her story. I can’t wait to read it. If you have an interest in learning more about life in Iran, I can highly recommend to you My Persian Paradox. Thank you, Shabnam for sharing a copy of your story with me. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bita

    As a friend of Shabnam who has gone through the same obstacles of operations with various levels I recommend this book to everyone. Shabnam’s journey is universal for anyone who lives in a system that individuals don’t matter. Her memoir is an eye opening story of women who struggle to attain their desire despite their family’s opposition and the society’s dictation. As a fellow Iranian, I have witnessed the common ground of living for girls in my homeland, and I want to spread the message of fr As a friend of Shabnam who has gone through the same obstacles of operations with various levels I recommend this book to everyone. Shabnam’s journey is universal for anyone who lives in a system that individuals don’t matter. Her memoir is an eye opening story of women who struggle to attain their desire despite their family’s opposition and the society’s dictation. As a fellow Iranian, I have witnessed the common ground of living for girls in my homeland, and I want to spread the message of freedom to all through Shabnam’s memoir.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ann-Marie

    I cannot conceive of how difficult it is to grow up under a repressive regime, and to do so as a girl is beyond imagining. As I read Shabnam Curtis' book I kept contrasting the events in her life with what was going on in my own life at the same time. It was a sobering exercise. I received this book free in exchange for an honest review on Goodreads.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    Oh my goodness! I can’t believe how incredibly amazing this book was. I thought the description sounded intriguing – but I was in no way prepared for just how dramatic and emotional and unbelievable (yet totally believable) this story of Shabnam Curtis’s life is. It should be a movie! “My Persian Paradox” is an addicting, intoxicating read that holds no punches and goes straight for the heart. I read the whole thing in the course of a few nights, and wished there was more because I was disappoin Oh my goodness! I can’t believe how incredibly amazing this book was. I thought the description sounded intriguing – but I was in no way prepared for just how dramatic and emotional and unbelievable (yet totally believable) this story of Shabnam Curtis’s life is. It should be a movie! “My Persian Paradox” is an addicting, intoxicating read that holds no punches and goes straight for the heart. I read the whole thing in the course of a few nights, and wished there was more because I was disappointed when it was over… I wanted more! But that ending is perfect – bittersweet but organic. I can’t believe how much I really learned not just about the culture of Iran, but the intimate details of the day-to-day – how her life there couldn’t be more different from mine, yet so many things (mothers, sex and boys, friends, etc…) are so totally relatable, it truly crosses any cultural boundaries and really experience her life, not just read about it. I can’t imagine getting a car pulled over for wearing red fingernail polish! And how the women just have no rights or freedoms. It’s so eye-opening how good we have it, and I am so thrilled that she and her family are here! Recommend for readers of literary Bio/Memoirs. . There’s a glossary of words at the end – use it!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sahar

    Shabnam's journey touches the reader in a very unique way. Her relentless strive and struggle for freedom and growth during extreme despair is nothing short of inspiring, brilliance, and is of ultimate courage. Her story is about her peculiar sacrifices for a much greater good. I hope you enjoy this journey through a very unique time and place as much as I did (and witnessed).

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cara

    It is a rare treat when you pick up a book to read hoping that you will like it, and wind up being blown away instead. I read a lot. A LOT. And that only happens to me on rare occasions. But it happened here, and I seriously could not put it down. “My Persian Paradox” seems to have something of everything… seriously. Historical drama (dictator regimes in Middle East), personal and family struggles, romance, different cultures and countries, intense drama, sadness and joy, and a search for streng It is a rare treat when you pick up a book to read hoping that you will like it, and wind up being blown away instead. I read a lot. A LOT. And that only happens to me on rare occasions. But it happened here, and I seriously could not put it down. “My Persian Paradox” seems to have something of everything… seriously. Historical drama (dictator regimes in Middle East), personal and family struggles, romance, different cultures and countries, intense drama, sadness and joy, and a search for strength and a sort of freedom in life that is both enlightening and inspiring to others… I was so impressed by the seamless narrative transitions, especially in the first part where we see Shabnam’s life now (or recently) here in America, and then we travel across the world to decades past and watch her life unfold before our eyes. While I’m not usually a fan of dense telling narrative prose with little dialogue for pages, it worked here as I loved Shabnam’s literary grace and prose, and the way she did a great job of always progressing the storyline in an engaging manner. Always found myself reading for longer than I planned to, as there was never a good place to just “stop”. This is good too. This book will have wide ranging appeal, and I can see fans of literary drama and nonfiction bio/memoirs gobbling it up. Recommend.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline Bryant

    okay--- I really loved this book. I thought it was beautifully written and engaging start to finish. It is *not* a quick read by any stretch… nor should it be. There are too many important events and experiences here to gloss over so the author Shabnam Curtis takes her time in carefully developing the various storylines for the different parts of her life so that we the readers are thoroughly invested the whole way through. I liked her writing style very much (even though it needs better editing okay--- I really loved this book. I thought it was beautifully written and engaging start to finish. It is *not* a quick read by any stretch… nor should it be. There are too many important events and experiences here to gloss over so the author Shabnam Curtis takes her time in carefully developing the various storylines for the different parts of her life so that we the readers are thoroughly invested the whole way through. I liked her writing style very much (even though it needs better editing), and found myself completely lost in this world she recanted night after night. This is all based on her ‘true story’ which makes it even more fascinating!!. I even feel like I learned more about life in Iran during the 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s and on, and what hardships people face not only on a daily living basis, but even trying to get out from under it. Was almost sad when I was done, but the ending gave the emotional satisfaction I look for in a great book. Well done. Recommend to fans of dramatic nonfiction/memoirs, or anyone who just enjoys an entertaining, intelligently-written story with lots of drama and emotional impact. Touches on some pretty heavy issues but never gets too depressing. Just very powerful. Recommend for mature teens on up.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tanya Guardino-Lopez

    4.5 stars "My Persian Paradox” by Shabnam Curtis is hands down one of the most riveting and well-crafted books I’ve read in a long time! I was completely drawn in from the opening pages, and absolutely loved Shabnam’s use of description of the different phases of her life, from her childhood all she witnesses and endures, and later through her adulthood. Through her first-person narrative, Shabnam gives an intimate, first-hand glimpse into a life that is hard to imagine unless you actually lived 4.5 stars "My Persian Paradox” by Shabnam Curtis is hands down one of the most riveting and well-crafted books I’ve read in a long time! I was completely drawn in from the opening pages, and absolutely loved Shabnam’s use of description of the different phases of her life, from her childhood all she witnesses and endures, and later through her adulthood. Through her first-person narrative, Shabnam gives an intimate, first-hand glimpse into a life that is hard to imagine unless you actually lived it, and we are so privileged to be on this incredible life journey with her. This in an emotionally engaging and heart-wrenching nonfiction memoir but feels like a fiction drama novel with so many crazy twists of fate and shocking events – stuff you can’t even make up. Its one thing to hear about these people in the news (like Saddam Hussein) but here we feel like he’s right there by us, and the influence of this dictatorship is everywhere we turn. So many ups and downs along the way, but the way Shabnam brings history to life in these pages will mesmerize you until the bittersweet end. It needs more editing (content, punctuation) but I would have no qualms recommending this to others.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Laurie Sugiyama

    As far as her story- it is true and I don’t like rating non-fiction. It is hard to imagine the life of a woman in such an oppressive country. Desperation leads to behavior you might not expect. Like Cuba, Iran was changed almost overnight and the citizens were not expecting what was to come. I am sure she is very happy to be in the USA as she is an incredible and tenacious woman. My prayer is that the people of Iran can be free and the women will be released from slavery.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nivedita Dhar

    This is a story about Shabnam and her warfare while living in Iran. She belongs to a Persian family, and luckily her family isn’t quite orthodox like others. Her Father is a Govt. employee, and her Mother is a school teacher. Her childhood days weren’t happy enough like other children. Her parents were always fighting around with silly and small topics. Her father who has got the drinking problem, was ruining their marriage day by day. But little Shabnam who loved to see dreams to explore this w This is a story about Shabnam and her warfare while living in Iran. She belongs to a Persian family, and luckily her family isn’t quite orthodox like others. Her Father is a Govt. employee, and her Mother is a school teacher. Her childhood days weren’t happy enough like other children. Her parents were always fighting around with silly and small topics. Her father who has got the drinking problem, was ruining their marriage day by day. But little Shabnam who loved to see dreams to explore this world, started living in her own isolation whenever they are fighting for no reason. But puberty hits her like a flow and couldn’t cope with herself from teenage sexual arisement. She fell in love and started ruining her studies slowly. Faced interrogations with Basijs which is  Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Tehran. . . At the age of 19, she got married and soon became pregnant and gave birth a beautiful daughter Parihan. After facing lots of intolerance in her marriage, she took divorce. To fulfil her dream, to become a sailor, she was ready and desperate enough to face any obstacles. Finally after lots of strife, second marriage and dilemma, she finally got her visa to USA, which was not easy for her like a mother. She had to leave behind her daughter in Tehran with her parents. But to give her a bright future unlike her, she had to take this decision, and this is where she won my heart. Because being a working lady I can also feel how it’s hard to face obstacles when you are isolating your children. But she did it, and this is where we shouldn’t lose our faith when the path to your destination is full of afflicted. . . This is my third memoir in this year. I always love to read memoirs and when it showing the culture of a particular region. And honestly I love to read books on Islamic Countries. Here you will get to know how they treat with women, how they create a boundary, or you can say a dead end just they are serving for a male-dominated country. This book has drawn my attention from the very beginning and made me binge reading. If you want to survive with your heads up, then you have to fight for your rights. Curtis has shown her audacity and won her battle for rights. I really loved this book a lot, and I am truly glad you gave me this opportunity to review your book. This will be a special read for me, and I read it in my birthday month. Highly recommending. Ratings : 4.5⭐️

  11. 5 out of 5

    Marcia Brewer

    4.5 stars just a heads up—when starting “My Persian Paradox” by Shabnam Curtis make sure you don’t have anywhere you need to be or anything you need to do because you won’t want to stop reading until you’ve finished it all!! Trust me on this! (and it’s a fairly decent length book, ha!) After the intro, where we meet an adult, Americanized version of her, we then delve back to the past, to her as a young girl living in war-torn Iran. We get to know her and her family’s experiences during this time 4.5 stars just a heads up—when starting “My Persian Paradox” by Shabnam Curtis make sure you don’t have anywhere you need to be or anything you need to do because you won’t want to stop reading until you’ve finished it all!! Trust me on this! (and it’s a fairly decent length book, ha!) After the intro, where we meet an adult, Americanized version of her, we then delve back to the past, to her as a young girl living in war-torn Iran. We get to know her and her family’s experiences during this time (this is in the 1980s) through her candid narration, and watch as she transitions from being essentially a prisoner to finally being in a ‘free’ land, is learning to live life on her own terms. We get to know Shabnam and the other people so well, we feel like we know them personally. Thank God I grew up where and when I did, but this was a profound experience I won’t soon forget, and I have so much respect for Shabnam for telling her story and inviting us into her life. I think what I liked the most about this book was just the overall feel she managed to create where it felt intimate, like a close friend was telling me this really amazing, shocking, unbelievable, inspiring story that I didn’t want to stop listening to – and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read it. Highly recommend.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Heather Burke

    "My Persian Paradox” was an excellent book that captured my attention from the beginning, pulled me in, and never once let go. Each scene was engaging, descriptive, and flowed smoothly from one to the next… never a “dull part” where you get bored or want to skip ahead… in fact almost the opposite with the various characters and dramatic circumstances in Shabnam Curtis’s life to the next. And with the deeply personal narrative style she uses, I felt like I was genuinely inside her head experienci "My Persian Paradox” was an excellent book that captured my attention from the beginning, pulled me in, and never once let go. Each scene was engaging, descriptive, and flowed smoothly from one to the next… never a “dull part” where you get bored or want to skip ahead… in fact almost the opposite with the various characters and dramatic circumstances in Shabnam Curtis’s life to the next. And with the deeply personal narrative style she uses, I felt like I was genuinely inside her head experiencing the world and her life through her eyes for better or worse. Very touching and profound, this book will make you think, but sometimes it is quite uncomfortable to read, especially when you see just how brutal and frightening can be for those who don’t enjoy democracy – who have little/no freedoms, and how that can ruin lives and destroy relationships – among many other things. But it is also compelling and eye-opening, watching her overcome all this adversity and ultimately find her place in the world. This was a remarkable story that spans years and countries and has a big feel, and leaves an impact I was certainly not expecting. I would love to read more from Ms. Curtis in the future as she has a natural gift for creating a well-thought out story that speaks to your heart and soul. I sincerely hope this isn’t a one-shot deal from her. Recommend.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Pennino

    they say truth is stranger than fiction, and some of this was downright heartbreaking and depressing, but through it all the one thing that is clear is family love with all of them even with differing ideology, and how much of a conflict she faced wanting to be more ‘western’ than was allowed. She ‘couldn’t look cute’ for boys, and women in general were just so repressed with NO rights – couldn’t even divorce an abusive husband unless he says so. Ridiculous. .But despite the fact that her world they say truth is stranger than fiction, and some of this was downright heartbreaking and depressing, but through it all the one thing that is clear is family love with all of them even with differing ideology, and how much of a conflict she faced wanting to be more ‘western’ than was allowed. She ‘couldn’t look cute’ for boys, and women in general were just so repressed with NO rights – couldn’t even divorce an abusive husband unless he says so. Ridiculous. .But despite the fact that her world and life is so different from ours, she invites us to a front row seat to watch her as she grows and changes against the backdrop of war and political upheaval. Some really great characters here, but at times it does read more of a rough draft that hasn’t quite yet been polished. Sometimes there is mossing or incorrect punctuation, multiple speakers in same paragraph, bouts of ‘telling’ (instead of ‘showing’). This book covers so, so much it’s impossible to sum up, but it felt like I was living through Shabnam’s life, and it was so wonderful to see how it all came together in the end!! A powerful literary treat and I would suggest this to readers of memoirs/autobiographies, so long as they aren’t too picky about the technicalities. 3.5 stars

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marissa Ann

    4 1/2 stars this book by Shabnam Curtis delivered on so many levels - the writing quality is superb and her narrative voice, while a bit quirky, stylistically, has such great energy and personality from the dramatic beginning (hearing gunfire as a young girl) to the heartwarming ending. I was truly impressed with the way Ms. Curtis managed to put so many real/historical events and emotions and experiences into a highly readable story. Like living through this time in history that we only heard ab 4 1/2 stars this book by Shabnam Curtis delivered on so many levels - the writing quality is superb and her narrative voice, while a bit quirky, stylistically, has such great energy and personality from the dramatic beginning (hearing gunfire as a young girl) to the heartwarming ending. I was truly impressed with the way Ms. Curtis managed to put so many real/historical events and emotions and experiences into a highly readable story. Like living through this time in history that we only heard about from an outsiders point of view, not an insiders. But even though some parts are a bit on the darker side, I really enjoyed the epic tale that she tells not only of her fascinating life growing up under such strict, and scary conditions, , but how she delivers with a sense of deeper emotion and sense of raw humanity-the good and the bad- and the beautiful strength and inspiration it provides for those who have their own difficult paths to maneuver. Her relationships, whether with her mother or father, the awful men, or her delightful friends and child, are so relatable of many of us. There are some punctuation and other editing issues that could benefit from another pass of the proofreader. But I would highly recommend to fans of nonfiction memoirs/autobiography.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    I received a kindle copy of this book as goodreads giveaway. Shabnam writes of her life growing up in Iran. She was born in the early 1970s. And lived there until around 2005. She writes about being a female in Iran and having to live under the rules for females. She marries young and has a baby girl. She has a miserable marriage having to obey the laws for females in Iran. The men have all the rights. She writes of her dreams to educate herself, learn English and find a way to come to America. I received a kindle copy of this book as goodreads giveaway. Shabnam writes of her life growing up in Iran. She was born in the early 1970s. And lived there until around 2005. She writes about being a female in Iran and having to live under the rules for females. She marries young and has a baby girl. She has a miserable marriage having to obey the laws for females in Iran. The men have all the rights. She writes of her dreams to educate herself, learn English and find a way to come to America. She is a smart woman with limited rights. There is way more to her story but I do not want to give too many spoilers. A pretty interesting read by a bright lady who tries to find a way to come to America.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tim Grove

    My friend's heartfelt story of her quest for freedom and independence while growing up in Iran. Shabnam's life in Iran was truly a paradox and I can't imagine the stress of believing one thing and being forced to hide it constantly. This book will make Americans appreciate the freedom they enjoy in the US.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ghazal Chilan

    A powerful story of an Iranian girl's life in Iran. It gives you a picture of life in Iran for the author's generation coupled with her amazing personal story.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Suzi

    I found the description of this book to be more interesting than the book. I wanted to read a courageous "tale of resilience facing oppression" but I felt that a greater portion of the book dealt with disappointing love affairs and dependence on men to achieve independence. I wish she had focused more on her own personal accomplishments and less on her relationships with men. I try to understand the limitations and frustrations felt by women in such restrictive cultures, but many of Shabnam's pr I found the description of this book to be more interesting than the book. I wanted to read a courageous "tale of resilience facing oppression" but I felt that a greater portion of the book dealt with disappointing love affairs and dependence on men to achieve independence. I wish she had focused more on her own personal accomplishments and less on her relationships with men. I try to understand the limitations and frustrations felt by women in such restrictive cultures, but many of Shabnam's problems seemed actually to be the result of her own choices. I was especially disappointed when in the end, Shabnam chooses a relationship with a man who can provide her with a ticket out of Iran but is not at all interested in her daughter who is left behind. The book jacket claims that the life of her daughter is more important to Shabnam than her own life, and if this is true, I hope that she was finally able to bring her daughter to America. Perhaps I've read too many stories similar to this, but I was hoping to learn something new and expecting more depth and historical substance.

  19. 4 out of 5

    S.A. Snyder

    A beautifully captured memoir of extremely challenging experiences in a land faraway and which is little understood by American-born folks. The author faces numerous hardships living under a totalitarian regime yet manages to navigate the potentially life-threatening consequences of wanting to simply live in peace and joy. Her resilience is astounding and her desire to not fall victim to repression gives one hope in the power of the human spirit. Ms. Curtis's compassion for humanity shines throu A beautifully captured memoir of extremely challenging experiences in a land faraway and which is little understood by American-born folks. The author faces numerous hardships living under a totalitarian regime yet manages to navigate the potentially life-threatening consequences of wanting to simply live in peace and joy. Her resilience is astounding and her desire to not fall victim to repression gives one hope in the power of the human spirit. Ms. Curtis's compassion for humanity shines through to inspire others to keep plowing ahead despite their circumstances.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Golpooneh Z

    Such an excellent book. Shabnam wrote somehow you found a wonderful treasures in it, and having it in hand to read is a blessing. She creates insights and experiences that you find yourself in that era even if you were not existing there . Now imagine what was my experience when I read the book and everything suddenly lit up in-front if my eyes and kept asking myself how we survived in those days and with all those problems. Sometimes through the lines I found myself so alive and real same as ot Such an excellent book. Shabnam wrote somehow you found a wonderful treasures in it, and having it in hand to read is a blessing. She creates insights and experiences that you find yourself in that era even if you were not existing there . Now imagine what was my experience when I read the book and everything suddenly lit up in-front if my eyes and kept asking myself how we survived in those days and with all those problems. Sometimes through the lines I found myself so alive and real same as other characters knowing that it’s not real but you couldn’t even think about not accepting you are leaving in another era now . So realistic it was and all the adventures dancing in front of your eyes getting through each pages and chapters having this feeling that you don’t want to put the book aside even you have soured eyes and need to get to work in half an hour . All the way driving to and from the work you are thinking of what you read and finally you will find yourself in your bed crowding and start reading with not preparing anything for dinner :) stunning and certainly recommended . Thanks Shabnam for creating lovely moments and remind me all the Loughs and pains I experienced during my teenage and young adulthood in Shemroon :)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Denise Dorn

    Could have used better proofreading. If ever a book needed an epilogue, this is one. (Spoiler Alert!) One extra chapter, summarizing the last 16 years, would have elevated this book. Did Parnian and her grandparents get to the U.S.? Obviously, the second marriage did not last, because she now has a different last name, but whose is it? How did she get from California to Virginia?

  22. 4 out of 5

    Roger Bradbury

    If you ever doubt freedom is worth the price you are asked to pay, and do pay, read My Persian Paradox, a memoir of an Iranian woman's quest.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I am looking forward to her next book!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Joana Almeida

    Shabnam Curtis opens up completely in her book about her childhood, adolescence and young adult life up until she accomplished her goals! I learned so much in this book, there where some things I already knew from movies or telejornals about life in countries like Iran or Iraque, but the perspective of Shabnam really got me. The ups and downs that Iran and their people went through for years, helped explain lots of things about their ways of living and seeing the world, and although I can’t fully Shabnam Curtis opens up completely in her book about her childhood, adolescence and young adult life up until she accomplished her goals! I learned so much in this book, there where some things I already knew from movies or telejornals about life in countries like Iran or Iraque, but the perspective of Shabnam really got me. The ups and downs that Iran and their people went through for years, helped explain lots of things about their ways of living and seeing the world, and although I can’t fully understand some things cause it’s different if you experience that yourself than reading about it, I think Shabnam made a great work about teaching us her own perspective as an Iranian girl and the struggles she had to get through in order to achieve what she thought was right for her and her family at a time Iran was still going through some difficult times itself. So if you like memories and to learn new things about ways of living and how to surpass all that you where teach to do and believe to get to freedom, then this is the book you must read!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    This is an eye opening look into the loss of women's freedoms under the elections of the strict religious leaders in Iran. We women in American take for granted the freedoms our foremothers fought for. This story shows how easily those freedoms can be lost under the wrong government leaders.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tocotin

    My last book of 2019! Ah, 2019… and I thought that you were a bad year! I’m so sorry – Ahem. Okay, this book’s language was a bit awkward in places – maybe it had no editor, I don’t know – but it was pretty fascinating. I couldn’t put it down and rooted for the author/narrator almost to the end. It is a great study of how devastating ideology and sexism can be even to the integrity of people opposed to them. The author had wonderful parents who supported her, had loyal friends, had lovers, had pe My last book of 2019! Ah, 2019… and I thought that you were a bad year! I’m so sorry – Ahem. Okay, this book’s language was a bit awkward in places – maybe it had no editor, I don’t know – but it was pretty fascinating. I couldn’t put it down and rooted for the author/narrator almost to the end. It is a great study of how devastating ideology and sexism can be even to the integrity of people opposed to them. The author had wonderful parents who supported her, had loyal friends, had lovers, had people who helped her along the way, but ultimately they could not win with her own internalized patriarchal mindset and with the society but up on the massive hypocrisy. She herself ended up being unable to function without a man in her life – just ANY man would do; unloving, cold, dishonest, as long as he was a man – and moreover, she ended up hurting her loved ones, because, well, they were just women and hence not so valuable to her. It seems that she is writing another book about the rest of her journey; I might or might not pick it up, but I wish her the best, and I hope she made things right.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    I devoured every word of this compelling memoir from Shabnam Curtis. Her story of coming of age during the revolution and the Iran-Iraq war, and of navigating adulthood in modern-day Iran illustrates the personal and generational trauma that living under such a repressive regime can cause. It also reveals the narrator’s incredible resilience and resolve to live a life as her true, authentic self.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    Ugh. Couldn't get into this one at all. Read the foreword and skimmed it and no.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia F Davidson

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pam Fisher

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