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What this book is about
The book seems to be written in the first person from the vantage point of the author’s mother, Najma. The book is a memoir that shares the story of several generations of women in Najma’s family. In essence, it’s an account of what it was like to be a woman growing up in Iran in the early to mid 1900s.
Though the title would lead one to think that this is a story about overcoming life’s obstacles, this story is tragic for the most part. With that being said, I learned a lot about what it was like for the characters to live in Iran through a lot of political and cultural turmoil.
Trigger warning: this book addresses the mistreatment of women in Iran during the aforementioned time period, discusses arranged marriages of children, child neglect, rape, abuse, and religious extremism.
Given that the family in this story is Muslim, I learned a bit more about that culture, which made this tragic story worthwhile.
The lack of rights and protection for the women in this story is heartbreaking and I would have liked to see how the story turned out. The story seems to end abruptly after a pretty big tragedy.
I was glad that mental health issues are addressed in this memoir, as mental illness was often considered shameful in the time period, setting, and culture in which the story took place.
I admire Najma’s assertiveness to her cruel husband. She doesn’t let his intimidation or abuse keep her from receiving an education, getting a drivers license, or doing anything else that she sets her mind to. She is the hero of this story and her strength is inspiring.
Thanks for reading!
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