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Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   260
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 27, 2006
Publisher   PublicAffairs
ISBN  1586483781  
EAN  9781586483784  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The story of the Iranian-American author's search for identity between two cultures torn apart by a violent history paints a portrait of Iran's next generation.

Publishers Description
As far back as she can remember, Azadeh Moaveni has felt at odds with her tangled identity as an Iranian-American. In suburban America, Azadeh lived in two worlds. At home, she was the daughter of the Iranian exile community, serving tea, clinging to tradition, and dreaming of Tehran. Outside, she was a California girl who practiced yoga and listened to Madonna. For years, she ignored the tense standoff between her two cultures. But college magnified the clash between Iran and America, and after graduating, she moved to Iran as a journalist. This is the story of her search for identity, between two cultures cleaved apart by a violent history. It is also the story of Iran, a restive land lost in the twilight of its revolution.
Moaveni's homecoming falls in the heady days of the country's reform movement, when young people demonstrated in the streets and shouted for the Islamic regime to end. In these tumultuous times, she struggles to build a life in a dark country, wholly unlike the luminous, saffron and turquoise-tinted Iran of her imagination. As she leads us through the drug-soaked, underground parties of Tehran, into the hedonistic lives of young people desperate for change, Moaveni paints a rare portrait of Iran's rebellious next generation. The landscape of her Tehran -- ski slopes, fashion shows, malls and cafes -- is populated by a cast of young people whose exuberance and despair brings the modern reality of Iran to vivid life.

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More About Azadeh Moaveni

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Azadeh Moaveni is the author of Lipstick Jihad and the co-author, with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, of Iran Awakening. She has lived and reported throughout the Middle East, and speaks both Farsi and Arabic fluently. As one of the few American correspondents allowed to work continuously in Iran since 1999, she has reported widely on youth culture, women's rights, and Islamic reform for Time, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, NPR, and the Los Angeles Times. Currently a Time magazine contributing writer on Iran and the Middle East, she lives with her husband and son in London.

From the Hardcover edition.

Azadeh Moaveni was born in 1976.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Best book I've read in a long time  Dec 11, 2007
This is simply the best book I have read in a great while. Several issues are addressed: life in the US as a child of immigrants/exiles and how one conceptualizes (and mythologizes) "the old country"; life in Iran as an American-Iranian: someone who feels like they should (are obligated to?) belong but somehow never quite gets all the pieces to fit; and trying to tie these identities together into a whole person.

With few Americans traveling abroad for more than 1-2 week vacations and little opportunity to be more than tourists where ever we go (or to ever be able to understand what it means to move your life to another country, let alone a country where you are considered suspect); this book moves people beyond thinking of Iran as simply "evil", "scary", etc. Life and people there, like anywhere, is complicated and many things to many people. The Western view of Iran has traditionally been to focus on the terrible and extreme or conversely to romanticise it and see only the mythical, the static ancient history.

Whichever side of the coin most Americans tend to focus on, it is usually an uncomplicated, uninformed view of the nation and the people. This book allows the reader a peek into a small section of life there to see ugly, wonderful, beautiful, happy, terrified, hopeful, dispondent people.
She never claims to represent anyone other than herself, she doesn't try to speak for Iran or Iranians or Iranian Americans- she just lets us look at the world through her eyes for a little while.

Azadeh Moaveni also allows us to follow her in her search for a place and identity that seems perpetually just out of reach. Like the tale about the Simorgh, the journey to find this place and identity eventually leads her (and the reader) to look within.

Unfortunately this review can't do the book justice- I highly recommend this book to anyone, period.

Interesting, but not captivating  Jul 6, 2007
Azadeh Moaveni's "Lipstick Jihad" is interesting and well-written, but not captivating. Much of the criticism from other reviewers revolves around her well-to-do social status and her focus on the young, upper- and middle-class generation with which she seems to have spent her time. Is this an "authentic" description of contemporary Iran? Were this a work of journalism, this critique might be valid, for the book is fully absorbed in the Islamic Republic-style perversions of the otherwise recognizable drama of being a young adult. And one can hardly charge her with misleading the reader on this account, as I can't think of a more apt description of this book's focus than the subtitle itself: "A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America and American in Iran."

The appropriate question to ask is not what the subject of her book is, but how well she has captured it. It is for this that I only give three stars. She rides from interesting anecdote to interesting anecdote, and when discussing her sense of being suspended between Iranian and American identities she can really shine. But her attempts to draw perspective often left me skeptical. She's fully capable of viewing her environment critically, but I'm not convinced she ever transcended it, looked back and encapsulated it for her audience.

When I finished each chapter I was not compelled to start the next and only rarely found myself lost in its pages. I am glad I read the book, and learned much about the political and social dimensions of life in contemporary Iran. But a memoirist's role is larger - even, in some ways, dishonest. For a memoir must universalize the personal, must order and narrate a life that rarely comes with either. In Moaveni's abstraction of her experience she only puts forward an interesting read, not a great one.
Interesting, but somewhat narrow in outlook  Jun 9, 2007
I enjoyed this book and found it somewhat enlightening about Iran and it was interesting to read how the younger set manages to socialize despite the constant repression by their government. Before going to Iran to live for a time, the author has an idyllic remembrance of a visit there, coupled with the reminicenses of her family. Once she gets there she gets an education of what it's like to live in a society that is in no way free and is governed by religious fanatics.

I was annoyed that she still felt so torn throughout the book - she wanted Iran to be so different, and seemed to consider herself Iranian, never once acknowledging her great good fortune of having been born an American. She never mentioned an appreciation for America, only yearning for a better Iran so she could stay there, and ultimately went to live in Beirut but doesn't say why. She could not have a fulfilled life in America?

Another thing that bothered me was the narrow perspective. She wrote about how the people she socialized with didn't care at all about Islam and weren't religious, thus giving the impression that the only religious fanatics in Iran are the people running the government. She seemed to think that if Iran could go back to a secular government that Islam would no longer be a problem for Iranians. Also I would have liked more depth pertaining to the problems women experience in this type of environment.
vividly forgettable  May 25, 2007
I have no business writing this review, for I read Moaveni's "Lipstick Jihad" over eight months ago, and can recall little about it.

Then why, you may ask, are you writing a review? If you can remember nothing about the characters sketched, the episodes related, the lessons learned, the style employed, etc. -- if none of these things has stuck in your mind, what could you possibly have to say about the book?

My point exactly.
One Woman's Story  Apr 21, 2007
So many of the reviews I've read focus on the author's upper-middle class status or her secularism as if these things make her less Iranian and therefore less suitable to write a book about being Iranian. Let us not forget that this book is a memoir, it is one woman's story of living in Iran but never really feeling like an Iranian. It's not a history book nor is it political commentary, though it does delve into both subjects. It is, however, an incredibly honest depiction of an American-born journalist's life in Iran during Khatami's presidency.
I know the reason I loved this book so much is because of all the parallels I can draw between the author's life and my own. "Lipstick Jihad" is the book I would write if I ever had the opportunity. It's almost eerie reading someone else's words all the while thinking they could be your own. No book, no picture, no film has ever made me ache for Iran like this book has. And I know this book won't and can't affect everyone the way it has me, but it is definitely worth reading to find out.

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