I am lifting my fatwa against you.
After Lipstick Jihad, I wrote you off as regular "Iranian Chick Lit chick" who wanted quick access to the American public through your youthful eyes. I think the discussion of nose jobs and Madonna bothered me because I needed something more serious at the time. I realize now that you were doing something Iran has lost since Ahmadinejad descended on the cable news cycle in America: give Iranians humanity (even if it involves the awkward moments like Madonna debates or fake nose jobs). I take it all back.
Reading your book alongside Soul of Iran by Afshin Molavi was probably what spoiled you for me. SOI is huge in scope and a much different endeavor altogether. But it shouldn't have made Lipstick less important. We need all of these perspectives. We need people who can put the silly or the non-serious into context about Iran, for Americans, for homesick Iranians, for English, for French, and I think you have done this well as a writer, and not only because you are a woman. Men would never admit to the things you do, not to their names at least. You're brave.
That is why I fell in love with Honeymoon in Tehran. I haven't finished it, and that is intentional. I am savoring this book. I am enjoying every page and it is the perfect sequel to Lipstick Jihad. It is actually a prequel in some ways. Your observations about Iranians and their society, as well as the diaspora community is sharp. I think you earn credit from me in your observations about explaining "lazy logic" on page 83 (it happens a lot on this site!) and working to correct this. Thank you.
I was so moved by what your fiance (I like this word more than husband) said about why lifting sanctions is so important. I was moved to anger. It made me angry that mullahs are disarming their own population by dismissing technology, the open source software you discuss, but it's another for the noble, free, well-intentioned WEST to do it too. What a sham.
When you talk about "the man with the colossal nose" (100) I realized why I love you. You're absolutely funny. Who the hell notices the size of a nose when they are fearing for themselves? For their loved ones? A witty woman named Azadeh. These details are important to readers like me, and whether or not people who are too high brow, like Thomas Friedman, to mention them, make their books less appealing. You give the flavor that Friedman must freak out at reading. You're a big threat to a bag of bones like him.
Your honesty is what really won me over this time. The personal details you reveal about yourself and your family, your love, all during your work is great. You give journalism its humanity too. Your story has made me, a cynical, cold woman cry several times.
At first I did not like your title. It was so romantic. So cheesy! But then I realized, dumb idiot I am, that "Americans" would not be able to handle a love story about an Iranian man. You were Sally Field! Your walked into the belly of the beast twice (more if you count the weird buildings you went to meet Mr. X). You showed love in a land where most people outside Iran don't think of how Iranians can fall in love - the same foolish way the rest of the world does.
I'm glad you revealed what the backup mullah said to your witness friend during the marriage ceremony. I liked your view about mehriyeh and how men aren't the only ones phucking up Iranian society.
My only bones are that you were so diplomatic with the "squawks" of the monarchists. I wonder why you were so tame toward this group, whose Prince Pahlavi they protect as if they are the 3 fairies in sleeping beauty, who only stand a chance with a military attack with the blessings of Israel.
I congratulate you for showing restraint with that brain dead girl racer Sonbol. What you have learned and heard from khanoum Shirin Ebadi would have made me take the lamb skewers and yogurt to her head.
I congratulate you on the fantastic interviews. What a great range of views you have propped up in this book. Young, old, dumb, intelligent, artist, cook, writer, phony, fighter, family, friends...... they are all in there, they are iranian, they are wonderful!
I enjoyed that you revealed the fights bout Islam between you and your fiance. Again, it is brave to reveal a domestic dispute of any kind. This is an important one. This fight, along with other points in the book I found myself saying "YES! Someone had to say this!" and you have. The stories, the sadness, the fragments, the frustrations on so many issues from marriage to voting and booze are all well documented. All the scattered jokes, insights, embarrassments, oddities are living in this book, about an important time.
I wanted to write this blog to ask anyone who is thinking about buying your hardcover book to do it. NOW! This book is worth every penny even in this shitty economic "tsunami". While it may be silly for me to suggest a book, being a cartoon and anonymous person on iranian.com, I have to say my reaction, considering some of the boloney I have written about like those creepy Iranian men who were stealing from cars they valet on hidden camera on 48 hours. What you do is not reactive work, it's ACTIVE or pro-active I should say. You, like khanoum Shirin Ebadi, give a voice to people who don't have it. I wish more "leaders" would do this. I'm proud of you and Shirin Khanoum. I really am.
Thank you Azadeh. You have written a great book. I wish you and your new family well. Congratulations on everything!
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