Read Honeymoon in Tehran: Two Years of Love and Danger in Iran by Azadeh Moaveni Online


Azadeh Moaveni, longtime Middle East correspondent for Time magazine, returns to Iran to cover the rise of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Living and working in Tehran, she finds a nation that openly yearns for freedom and contact with the West but whose economic grievances and nationalist spirit find an outlet in Ahmadinejad’s strident pronouncements. And then the unexpectAzadeh Moaveni, longtime Middle East correspondent for Time magazine, returns to Iran to cover the rise of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Living and working in Tehran, she finds a nation that openly yearns for freedom and contact with the West but whose economic grievances and nationalist spirit find an outlet in Ahmadinejad’s strident pronouncements. And then the unexpected happens: Azadeh falls in love with a young Iranian man and decides to get married and start a family in Tehran. Suddenly, she finds herself navigating an altogether different side of Iranian life. As women are arrested for “immodest dress” and the authorities unleash a campaign of intimidation against journalists, Azadeh is forced to make the hard decision that her family’s future lies outside Iran. Powerful and poignant, Honeymoon in Tehran is the harrowing story of a young woman’s tenuous life in a country she thought she could change....

Title : Honeymoon in Tehran: Two Years of Love and Danger in Iran
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780812977905
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 368 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Honeymoon in Tehran: Two Years of Love and Danger in Iran Reviews

  • Meagan
    2019-01-27 11:09

    Honeymoon in Tehran is the kind of book I would encourage most Americans to read, especially since it provides so much insight into a country that so many Americans view as a dangerous enemy. Moaveni is an American journalist born to Iranian immigrant parents but who still feels a distinct connection to the land of her heritage. She worked for many years as a foreign correspondent for Time magazine, investigating everything from Iranian pop culture to politics to human rights issues. Her latest memoir, after Lipstick Jihad, chronicles her move to Iran from Lebanon when she meets the man she will eventually marry. Moaveni, perhaps because of her American/Iranian heritage, is particularly effective at describing Iranian life from a perspective that resonates with American readers. She reflects the disconnect between the Iranian people, who often hold very modern views about everything from diplomacy to romance, and the Iranian government of religious dictators. Although her story is obviously unique, and filtered through her own perspective, Honeymoon in Tehran nevertheless offers us all an opportunity to better understand a country and a people who, for better or worse, will continue to factor greatly into the American political landscape for years to come. A fascinating book about a very important region.

  • Sara
    2019-02-05 09:21

    This book is a truly excellent memoir. If you’re looking for a memoir that details the struggles and censorship that modern Iranians (particularly women) are facing, it delivers. It is chock full of complicated patriotism, scathing social observations and balanced political commentary. But if contemporary romance is your thing, it has that too. The novel spans two years as President Ahmadinejad rises to power, and the author meets the love of her life. I won’t spoil the ridiculous and creative ways in which she is oppressed and frankly harassed, but to say it isn’t easy to start a family in Tehran.It’s obviously well-written, as Moaveni is an accomplished journalist and author. And for me, the best parts of Azadeh Moaveni’s Honeymoon in Tehran are when her journalistic approach to her tale slips, and we are treated to her voice as a woman and a mom delivering the story’s most powerful moments. Highly recommended!

  • Claire
    2019-02-04 12:17

    A first hand account of life among educated, middle-class in Tehran, Iran. I learned so much about Iranian points of view and many issues that I had misunderstood are made clear in this memoir. Set just as Ahmadinejad come into power and increases the repression of the Iranian Islamic regime. Politics, culture, family and profession collide with restrictions at every turn. This is a compelling and fascinating account of modern professional life in Tehran.

  • Louise
    2019-02-13 17:03

    This book tells the story of Ahmadinejad's first election and how the first years of his administration affected the daily lives of people and, specifically, this reporter.Azadeh Moaveni takes you through the naiveté of reform minded voters who justified their sitting out the 2005 election since no one represented positive change. Little did they know that at the last minute a hard liner could be entered in stealth and would change the country and take away what little freedoms they had.She shows how the situation deteriorated. To this point, small freedoms had crept into the Islamic Republic. When Ahmadinejad opened soccer games to women it was hoped the trend would continue, but this was followed a widespread crackdown on woman's attire. Satellite dishes are first removed by somewhat polite police, later, they are just smashed on roofs with little warning. Moaveni's professional situation deteriorates as well. The intimidating government minder becomes downright lethal.Amid all this, Moaveni falls in love and becomes pregnant. She can't get health information since sites found in Googling "Women" (as well other body parts) are blocked. Every aspect of childbirth is fraught with stress down to selection of the child's name. The marriage ceremony and celebration have concerns. In Iran, wedding planners have added responsibilities. They may have to pay the police to so your friends and relatives can be together (men and women) to celebrate. Add music or wine to your party, and you have more complications.Don't let the title fool you. This is not chick-lit and it is not flip. It is a serious work on the difficulties of daily life in Iran

  • Jonnie
    2019-01-30 14:14

    Overall, I think the book lacked coherence. I also found the subtitle to be misleading. There may have been love, but there was no danger to her throughout the book. Sure, she had some minor scares and major hassles but living in a country with limited freedom what did she expect? Since she had worked frequently in Iran and had temporarily lived there before, there should have been no surprises for her on the censorship and intrusion into the daily life of Iranians. As a journalist, she should have been fully aware of the difficulties in accessing the internet and watching satellite tv. And really, if those were the most challenging things she encountered while living there, then she was lucky. I can understand the frustration of living in a society where the rules change constantly without warning, but again with her background and experience what did she expect?Besides finding her expectations unrealistic, I also found the author self-promoting. Her self-centered discussions on daily life, censorship and other restrictions, do not even touch the serious problem of intimidation and harassment that women activists and human rights advocates have to deal with. Part of the book also included her reflections on her personal relationship with Islam. To me it seemed that she confused spirituality with Islam. Like many people of all religions, she wanted to pick and choose which part of the religion she wanted to follow and apply to her life. That may work well in democracies, but in a Islamic Republic it is not that simple.If someone wants to understand more about life in the Islamic Republic of Iran, there are better books. If you just want to read about the author’s life, then you might find the book enjoyable even though it does drag in several places.

  • Rachel
    2019-02-17 17:01

    An intriguing book that left me with mixed feelings. Azadeh Moaveni is an Iranian-born US journalist working for Time magazine in the Middle East. In 2005 she lives in Iran covering the elections and the unexpected rise to power of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Not a great deal happens in the book but she covers daily life in Iran, it's restrictions, politics and the difficulties of living under an oppressive Islamic regime. She herself seems somewhat conflicted in her views. At times she is nationalistic and seems to be trying to prove how forward thinking and open minded the people of Iran are, despite the corruption and restrictiveness of the government and the Mullahs. At other times she seems completely frustrated by Iran. She also has a conflicted relationship with Islam, trying to meld the more liberal form she had seen in America with what she now faced in Iran. She alternately seeks to excuse Islam for the state of things in Iran and also blame it. Although I see that real life in any country is unlikely to be black and white and life is always complex I found her confusing at times. I also found myself captivated by her references to ancient Persian culture largely destroyed by the regime. Overall an interesting book that takes you somewhere.

  • Heather
    2019-02-13 14:03

    Honeymoon in Tehran is Azadeh Moaveni's distinguished memoir of her time spent living in Iran as a journalist and newly married mother. As an Iranian native of California and journalist for Time magazine, Moaveni spends her notable career reporting on the societal aspects of Iran, from it's controversial elections to trends in Iran's youth activist culture. When she returns to the country to begin reporting on Iran's 2005 presidential elections, she has no idea that she will soon begin living in Iran, not to mention that she will meet and fall in love with her soon-to-be husband. But despite best laid plans, Moaveni is soon pregnant and must navigate among Iran's religious and political restrictions to first marry and have her child, then to continue reporting. With harrowing clarity she explains the sanctioned abuses that face unwed pregnant mothers, and experiences the difficulty of obtaining the proper permission to be married. While documenting this time in her life, the author extensively explains the political, social and religious climate that she is steeped in as a resident of Iran. In an eye-opening way, she describes the confusion of governmental agencies that share executive power over the country, and even for someone as well versed in Iran's culture as Moaveni, it still is sometimes unclear who holds ultimate authority.In addition, she gives a first hand account of the social repression that is the standard for the country. From the strict laws on acceptable attire (especially for women, who are expected to don their head coverings in almost all public venues) to the segregation of the sexes, even at events such as private weddings, Moveni explores an array of customs that all must live by in their everyday life. Aside from these revelations, she examines the repressive and reactionary attitude of the government, documenting the way in which the country's leaders seek to control Iran's image in the media and the shocking downfall in the socioeconomic status of Iran after Ahmadinejad's unexpected election as president. With all that she faces, there is still more: she must routinely deal with her private handler, known only as Mr. X, as he systematically bullies, threatens and frightens her into complicity. In Iran, each news correspondent must have a government minder, ensuring that the reporter doesn't portray unsavory aspects of the country or its leaders to the outside world's news outlets. By using scare tactics and intimidation, Mr. X fast becomes a villain in this insidiously prescribed relationship. As Moaveni moves through these new stages of her life, she gives a candid account of the attitude of both the traditionally religious and secular Islamic people living in Iran, and she explains in great detail the way in which the Islamic religion has shaped and still very much influences the governmental aspects of the country. Although Moaveni must face many difficulties in her time in Iran, still she embodies a great love for the people, culture and wonderful contradictions of Iran, where today most people can't afford to buy a home but nose jobs are had easily and affordably. At the conclusion of her memoir, Moaveni must decide if Iran is truly the place in which she wants to live her life and raise her child, and though I won't spoil the book for you, it's obvious that her heart is torn in two opposing directions. Her ultimate decision is hard won and heartbreaking. This accurate and compelling look at life in modern Iran encompasses all that the country is, and all it hopes to one day be.When I first began reading this book, I was a little non-plussed at the fact that this was not mainly a book about one's person's experiences with everyday life in Iran. I had supposed, going by the title, that it would be exclusively about the author's struggles in a strict and repressive society. When I finally realized the scope of the book, I began to be able to better form an opinion of it. Although it was not what I was expecting, this book caught me totally off-guard and I was blown away by how much I enjoyed and appreciated the story Moaveni told. I didn't have much information regarding the state of society in Iran but was quickly able to understand and grasp the various aspects of modern life in the country. I believe that this material, handled so well by the author, could have been very flavorless and dull had it been presented in other ways, by other authors. As I read and my understanding grew, I began to ask myself questions that I hoped to be able to research the answers to later. However, that wasn't necessary, because Moaveni did a wonderfully thorough job of answering all these questions for me; I needed only to be patient as she explained.As time went on, I realized that this book was perfectly complete, posing and answering questions about Iran that have been shrouded in mystery for far too long. It was then that a curious change took place within me: I stopped doubting the story and became more intimately involved with the country's history and future. The fact that the story was not as personal as I had originally hoped for ceased to matter, and I left those feelings behind and became totally engrossed with the all-encompassing story the author had to tell. I still enjoyed Moaveni's story of her marriage and pregnancy, but taken with all the other aspects of the book, those sections were only one facet of a multi-layered portrait of Iran. While reading, I experienced several emotions, all at the heels of each other. I found myself angry at the government and its minions for attempting to totally repress an intelligent and growing society, I was astonished that so many Iranians seemed to humbly accept these impositions on their lives, and saddened by their apathy for instituting change. I was also a bit perplexed at the audacity of the governments reactions and punishments to totally ordinary and normal aspects of human behavior. I was joyful when I read on to discover that most secular Iranians had their own ways of obliquely dealing with their suppressive regime, giving themselves the freedoms that had been methodically denied to them by their leaders. And last, but certainly not least, I was appalled and scared for Moaveni in her dealings with Mr. X, a cruel and inventive man who did his best to terrify the journalist away from her work. I very greatly appreciated the exclusive instruction that this book provided for me, and I think that Moaveni did a fabulous job in relating a huge amount of history and the implications for Iran's future in such a compelling and interesting way.I have not had the opportunity to read the author's first book, Lipstick Jihad, but I am looking forward to reading more from this author, who I consider an expert in this area of the world. I think that this book should be read by anyone with a curiosity for Iran. Whether this will be your first time reading about the country or you are seasoned in the area's complexities, this is a wonderful read that is not only timely, but enlightening. I applaud this author for her unflinching look at Iran and her ability to relate the country's flaws, beauties and conundrums. A great read.

  • Diana Sung
    2019-02-03 12:04

    As a young mother who married abroad within the last 10 years, this look at intercultural complexities to falling in love and starting a family in alternate situations was very compelling. I learned a lot about the recent and past history of Iran while being reminded of the complexities of expatriate life. I enjoyed the narrative from a cultural perspective and some of the writing was very engaging, though sometimes it fell back into "news-reporter" voice.What I love about Moaveni's book is her commitment to understand the nuances and complexities of situations where it is easy to demonize and blame. Although it comes partially from her function as a news reporter and partially from her need to understand her own dual identity as an Iranian-American, her love for Iran, its people and its heritage (and yes, even of the poetic Islam of her grandmother) does not blind her to the flaws of the totalitarian regime and the failings of the government (corrupt and fundamentalist). Her ability to treat subjects fairly and provide the layered backgrounds that contribute to the headlines without glamorizing, blaming, or polarizing is admirable. Even if she does piggyback on the ironic popularity of Bushnell's female-centric narrative (I imagine there could be nothing further from the values portrayed in Ayatollah propoaganda than the world of "Sex and the City" writer whose "Lipstick Jungle" inspired the title of Moaveni's first book), she does not rely on the extreme sensationalizing that characterizes the chick lit writer's oeuvre.I'm glad I made it to the end of the book, because where her prose fails is in all of the attempts at foreshadowing build-up surrounding her non-frontation with Mr. X. As both a tool of the regime and a person with whom Moaveni must regularly interact, he is the "villain" of this story, but I get the impression from the epilogue that it is because her strong feelings about his betrayal compromised her ability to be journalistically unbiased. Hence, much of this fell flat. I suspect she still felt too hurt to write about it clearly, and so kept falling back to her "objective voice."Full disclosure: I did not read Lipstick Jihad, nor have I followed much of the news about Iran in recent years as closely as an informed citizen of the U.S. should. I probably will now.

  • Mindy
    2019-01-23 09:06

    I really liked this book. I previously had no understanding of Iran and Iranian life outside of western media (which Ms. Moaveni is a part of, of course). Her take and understanding of the culture mingled with her own life struggles and changes gives a refreshing perspective on this country I otherwise knew little about. She has a sort of wry sense of humor about most things and despite what is probably a dangerous profession, she is constantly brave and questioning.I kind of wish I had read Lipstick Jihad A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America And American in Iran first since many of the same people in her life reappear in this book and it might have been easier to have the references for them. Especially Mr. X.SPOILERMy only gripe, is that it seems as if Ms. Moaveni continued to smoke and drink copious amounts of caffeine through her pregnancy. It isn't spoke of outwardly, but there are references to cigarette ashes and Turkish coffee drinking throughout.END SPOILERI would definitely read another of Ms. Moaveni's books. I like her take on things, and really enjoyed learning a side of Iran less represented in western media.

  • Lady L
    2019-02-04 09:25

    I labored through this book but I did not want to NOT finish it. It had enough substance to keep my interest going despite the confusing religious philosophies and foreign names. When I chose to read "Honeymoon in Tehran," I didn't know what to expect. I definitely was not expecting a "chicklit." I knew that it will be part-secular/part-political. However, as much as Ms. Moaveni was able to paint a vivid picture of everyday life in Iran from an upper-middle class, Western and highly educated perspective, her attempt to marry (no pun intended) the political issues (which pretty much is the major driving force in the daily lives of Iranian,) was too fragmented. Definitely, this literature cannot be cited for eloquent writing. I am not sure if she was trying to achieve the effect of being poetic but her writing lacks the romance and passion of someone who declared to be very much in love with Islam and her native country. I was looking for the depth of longing and feelings that other ex-patriate authors profess in their works.Regardless, this book is a good way to understand modern Iran through the eyes of a lay person whose profession is that also of a journalist.

  • Nancy
    2019-02-05 14:23

    Azadeh Moaveni, daughter of Iranian immigrants who raised her in Northern California, sheds an enticing perspective upon the years she determinedly spent as a young adult in the nation her own parents had abandoned decades earlier. Moaveni does not sugar coat the oppression and frustration imposed upon Iran's people--such factors eventually motivated her to leave the country along with her Iranian born husband and infant son. She does, however, reveal the moderate and sensible nature of many citizens of this nation in the heart of "the axis of evil."Moaveni's firm grasp on politics and history is accompanied by her engaging narrative style and ability to interweave amusing anecdotes and personal sentiments throughout her testament of life under the thumb of a theocratic Islamic republic. The effect is a thought-provoking and informative memoir that reads as smoothly as any fictitious novel.

  • Andrea
    2019-01-30 12:19

    Personally I think that this book gives a very correct and complex account on present day Iran. I really liked how the author succeeded to maintain the balance between the positive and negative depiction of Iranian politics and society, which also made me realize how incredibly divided and antagonistic the everyday experience in Iran can be! While implementing the strictest clothing regulations to women, it allows (or better said doesn't take action against) alcohol consumption in underground bars.. and this friction is there in all areas of everyday life. The book is also a very emotional and touching personal story, about how difficult it is to admit that the religious and political agenda of your country is built on antiquated, discriminating and fundamentalist principles.. and the even more difficult decision to leave your loving environment behind because you don't want your child to be raised in such a hypocritical, restrictive regime... A very good first read on Iran!

  • Sydney
    2019-01-23 11:14

    This was a fantastic, fascinating book.It got off to a bit of a slow start... I was a little overwhelmed by all of the information about Iran that the author included in her story, but all of this information was relevant. It quickly picked up and Moaveni is a journalist by trade, which makes her a wonderful storyteller. I feel like I know so much more about Iran, a country that is growing increasingly important in world affairs.This was a great mix of the inside workings of the government through the eyes of a western journalist in Iran and the stories of a very important time in the author's life.She ends up falling in love, and decided to stay in Iran, much to her parents dismay (they fled Iran in the 70s). I won't go much more into details to avoid spoilers, but this was a fascinating read and I highly, highly recommend it!

  • Laila (BigReadingLife)
    2019-02-14 14:03

    Moavani is a wonderful writer. I'm especially interested in Iran as a subject, since my father emigrated from there in the 1960s. But even for someone with no ties to Iran, this is a fascinating read. It covers the two years she lived in Iran in the mid-2000s, meeting her future husband and having a baby. This was the time that Ahmejinidad became president, and she writes of the ensuing effects and crackdowns on the culture. Iran is such an interesting country, so unlike any other in the Middle East, although it is often incorrectly lumped in with negative associations of the others. I recommend this to anyone who wants a page-turning memoir and wants to learn a bit about an important place at the same time.

  • Shahrzad
    2019-01-22 09:03

    Two years life of an Iranian journalist who fell in love when she was visiting Iran. Got married and tried to build her life with her husband and son in her beloved country while continuing her job. But the structure of her life and the presuures imposed from a theocracy was not bearable and healthy type of living for her and her family. She had to leave Iran behind knowing that she might not find a place to live that provides her with perfect happiness or a place that she feels most welcome or comfortable or loved like in Iran but a place that she could freely breathe and have a balanced life, emotionally, mentally and physically.

  • Meri
    2019-02-05 17:03

    Despite her relative youth, Moaveni writes with insight and understanding about Iran over the past few years. The book begins when Amadinejad is elected and follows the changes that happen in Iran over the following years. It is also an account of a young woman who was raised in the west dealing with getting married in Iran. Despite what one would think, the book is not a wholehearted condemnation of modern Iran, nor is she an apologist. What it does is capture, affectionately, the sentiments of a country who, much like ourselves in recent years, are not represented by their elected leader. A must read for anyone who likes to get both sides of the story.

  • Kathy
    2019-02-10 15:05

    I learned alot reading this book, which covers the period 2005-2007, starting just before the election that brought in Ahmadinejad. Because the author is a journalist, her writing is complimented by opinions and interviews of many Iranians. It provides a good explanation of the backdrop to those elections, and how Ahmadinejad rose to power from such obscurity. She also describes well the subsequent descent into economic collapse and security clampdown.I look forward to reading other books by Moaveni.

  • Jack
    2019-02-10 17:16

    Fascinating portrait of life in Iran, just before the election of Ahmadinejad and during his Presidency. Although much of the criticism of Iran is present, from the role / dress of women in the public sphere to the government's crackdown on activists and journalists, there is nuance. Partial displays of openness with satellite TV, a lax enforcement of dress requirement at times and outdoor musical symphonies. Sometimes funny, sometimes menacing, it is life within the borders of a newly emboldened, nuclear-ambitious nation.

  • jen8998
    2019-02-01 14:02

    Azadeh Moaveni follows her first memoir with this book about her last two years in Iran. Significantly less hopeful than Lipstick Jihad, Moaveni chronicles a return of more repressive regime. She continues to work as a journalist despite inherent risks. An interesting theme in this book is her relationship with her government handler, Mr. X, who vets each of her stories prior to publication. Well worth reading as is her first effort.

  • Carmen
    2019-01-25 11:15

    Best book I've ever read!!!!

  • Louise Donegan
    2019-02-17 16:30

    A fascinating insight into life in Iran and one that might surprise many in the West who get a very one-sided simplistic portrayal of a country that suits a certain narrative (partly due to Iran's own heavy censorship). The fact that the author is a journalist means the book feels well researched and written. It dispels certain conceptions one might have about Iran whilst reinforcing others. I found particularly interesting the authors epilogue re life in London and her observations that the U.K. pandered too much to antediluvian Islam but also how as a mother she felt more isolated in London and missed that sense of community she felt in Iran (an observation that might extend to many Western countries). Ultimately I felt sad for Iran in conclusion but nevertheless happy to read a more nuanced view of life in Iran than you often read in the Western media.

  • Trena
    2019-01-17 15:03

    I was so focused on having a small carry-on purse for my recent trip to Athens and Turkey (because I had a 6 hour layover in Montreal and wanted to leave the airport and go eat at Le Commensal) that I forgot to pack anything to entertain myself on the flight! I ended up spending over $40 on books at the Montreal airport. This is why I use the library, people.The selection of books in the airport is sad. Lots of pulpy mysteries and sundry crap. I saw the title of this one and was kind of like, "Eh. Chick lit." I like chick lit, but it goes too fast to be worth buying. But then I saw the author and realized it was a follow up to Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America And American in Iran, which I had really enjoyed for its on-the-ground view of the Iranian people. While I like the titles of Moaveni's books and think they cleverly convey the subject matter, I also think that she is alienating large numbers of people who would be a good audience with her chick lit titles.This was another great account of how Iranians feel about and deal with their government. The book jacket makes much of the fact that the book deals with Ahmadinejad's ascendancy, but his election doesn't occur until halfway through the book and Moaveni had left the country by the time of the post-election riots of 2009. His presidency definitely is covered, but to be clear this is not a book that will give you a comprehensive picture of Iranian politics.What the book does provide is a portrait of how Iranians feel about their country and its leadership. (I can't really say "average Iranians" because her subjects are almost always well-off, though she stresses that the sentiments run throughout all economic levels.) The random arrests, beatings, crackdowns, and TV satellite destructions are terrifying, as is the cat-and-mouse game played with Moaveni as a journalist for a Western publication. I felt in suspense much of the time (in a good way). Moaveni does meet her husband, marry, and a have a child in the course of the narrative, but it wasn't really about her--more how the state interacts and interferes with such normal human acts. She had to have her father's permission to marry. She had to give her son a state-approved name. While giving birth her husband had to be smuggled in and she had to wear a ludicrously enormous "modesty covering" hospital gown that didn't open in the front to allow nursing. That sort of thing.One of the most enlightening quotes for me was, regarding nuclear enrichment (paraphrasing): "People don't know the difference between nuclear energy and a pizza. You ask them if they want nuclear energy, they say yes." Whether Ahmadinejad truly wants nuclear energy or is spinning a desire for nuclear weapons as a bid for energy independence I don't know, but he is clever in rallying his people to believe the former.

  • Alanna Spinrad
    2019-01-27 15:26

    I have known, and called my friends, several women from Iran. Each and everyone of them has been vivacious, curious, well educated, and fluent in several languages. I can't describe how fortunate I've been to know them. Each one of them, however, has had the same story. As their country grew more and more fundamentalist, their lives grew more and more restricted. The women I have known felt they needed to leave their country for good in order to make the most of their lives. This book is the same story I've heard from my friends. In my long life here in the US I've seen the rules change for women. When I was growing up, many, many women were expected to be uneducated hausfraus. Now young girls expect to be educated and and have a seat at the boardroom table with the same rights and privileges as men. That's quite a change in 60 years. But we didn't have to leave our country to make these changes happen. It hasn't always been easy but it's been doable without relocating. Well, Iran's loss is our gain. This is a great book to help open peoples minds and hearts to the issues women have to face in other countries.

  • Diane
    2019-02-06 15:11

    What a snooze. A bad book club xhoice. I'm about 4/5s of the way through this book, and I'm still waiting for a storyline or a plot to develop. She talks about ridiculous obscure events and you think she must be mentioning this because it will culminate in something later in the book. That does not happen-she's just recounting something to fill space. (I'm guessing as it serves no other purpose.) I did learn that Iranians eat a lot of pickes as she mentions THIS about 5 or 6 times in the book. Oy. This book is the written equivalent of listening to a teenager describe their life over the course of a week. They talk and talk and talk but there's nothing to it, little direction and no purpose. I kept waiting for something to happen. For example, they talk about how she becomes pregnant as an unwed woman and how she thinks about how she may be stoned to death, or killed or some other terrible deed. None of this ever materializes--my thinking is she adds this to make some purporse for the book. I really wanted to like this but there was nothing to like about it. This was terrible.

  • Thomas Keech
    2019-01-22 13:05

    The author's depth of experience and sharp insight into the mindset of ordinary Iranians make this definitely a worthwhile book to read. There are some scenes in this book that surprised me and challenged my preconceptions about that whole society. The depiction of the mandatory government premarital counseling was itself worth the price of the book. The author conveys well the complex Iranian reactions to a brutal but fractured and inconsistent government. In describing her personal life, however, the author seems to lack perspective. She seems just as upset by an airline attendant being rude to her as she does by a government threat of imprisonment. But this is autobiography, and I guess it's supposed to be all about me, me, me.

  • Noémi
    2019-02-05 10:23

    It's probably a book I had never ever opened if I wouldn't have my dearest bookclub girls to draw (what draw? force!) my attention to it. The title is misleading you see, I'd reckoned some kind of chicklit which - through some romantic and heartbreaking story - would touch the Middle East & women question shallowly. You know, like the ones I used to enjoy so much as a teenager, but eventually grew immensely tired of. But what a pleasant surprise it was. Not only it is a superb and ejoyable nonfiction, but it's a complex and very human book on the topic. It makes Iran real and comprehendable.

  • Amy Button
    2019-02-16 10:04

    Honestly, much like her first book it took me awhile to get into. Once I did however, it was a poignant story especially given the current climate in Iran. Very well done and a great read after the slow start.

  • Jennifer
    2019-02-15 13:12

    What a pompous, arrogant and whiny author. This book sucked. I kept reading it in hopes it would get better. But it sucked right on through to the end.

  • Morgan Dhu
    2019-02-04 16:26

    Azadeh Moaveni, the American-born child of Iranian parents who settled in the US following the 1979 revolution in Iran, first visited Iran in 1998. In 2000, she returned to Iran as a journalist reporting on the elections for Time Magazine, and remained in the country for two years before settling in Beirut, where she continued to report on issues in the Middle East, visiting Iran on many occasions. In 2005 she published a memoir, Lipstick Jihad, in which she wrote about her life as an Iranian in America, and an American in Iran. Her latest memoir, Honeymoon in Tehran, begins in 2005. Mildly apprehensive about Iranian reaction to her book, she arrived in Tehran for a two-week stay to cover the state of mind of Iranian youth heading into the new elections. What she found was a mixture of cynicism and apathy toward the political system. Many of those she interviewed - not just youth, but all segments of Iranian society - had no plans to vote. They believed the election was "fixed" and that the outcome would be decided not by the people but by Iranian spiritual leader, Ali Khamenei. Instead of politics, her young interview subjects were thinking about economic issues - finding decent jobs, earning enough money to get married and start lives of their own. Inflation, corruption and the theocratic government's attempt to police personal lives added to their feeling that nothing would, or could, change. Moaveni also found much private, even covert rebellion against the government's strict religious laws - underground parties, young couples secretly dating, a black market economy making Western videos, alcohol and other forbidden items readily available. Her story written, Moaveni left Tehran - but not before meeting a man, Aresh Zeini, towards whom she feels a certain element of attraction.Following the unexpected election of fundamentalist ex-mayor of Tehran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Moaveni returned to Iran for an extended stay, intending to report on the new regime. During this time she pursued a relationship with Aresh, first dating and then living together - a choice nominally forbidden but engaged in by many young Iranians, with relatively little risk as long as they remained circumspect - and ultimately marrying.In this memoir, Moaveni writes about her everyday life as a young woman in love, and also about her professional life as a journalist in the employ of a foreign news organisation - and her contacts with her government-appointed "minder," whom she calls Mr. X. Moaveni's account of her relationship, her social and family life, her pregnancy, marriage and birth preparations all give insight into the complex and changing culture of Iran. At the same time her references to the political climate in the country, highlighted by both her work and her changing relationship with Mr. X, who has the power to end her ability to work as a journalist, underscore the instability and slowly increasing repression of the Ahmadinejad regime. A turning point in the narrative comes when the American government announced a series of measures clearly designed to encourage resistance to the Ahmadinejad government among the Iranian people."... the Bush administration had launched a $75 million program tacitly aimed at changing the Iranian regime. Although its planners did not discuss the program in such explicit language, preferring vague terms such as “advancement of democracy,” the end of the Islamic Republic (or its transformation into a moderate, normal state, which was pretty much the same thing) was quite clearly their goal. Promoted through an array of measures—expanded broadcasting into the country, funding for NGOs, and the promotion of cultural exchanges—the democracy fund was intended to foster resistance to the government. With such support for the opposition, it was hoped, the clerical regime would collapse from within, taking care of what had become one of America’s largest problems in the Middle East."The response within Iran was predictable, marked by a level of paranoia that was, given the circumstances, well-justified. It had profound effects on Moaveni's ability to work as a journalist."... by September, I was scarcely working anymore. I still reported news stories on the nuclear crisis and domestic political squabbles, but I had to avoid sensitive subjects and I dropped altogether the myriad of projects and professional relationships that had once filled my time. I avoided meeting activists, and many avoided meeting with me. As a result, I could no longer tell you, or report on, how Iranians were challenging their government. All the people who once supplied me with such information—student dissidents, bloggers, women’s movement leaders—had been branded by the United States as potential agents of “peaceful” change, and in consequence were identified as security threats. The fear that our meeting—a western journalist with an activist—would be considered a plot was mutual. "I stopped attending seminars and conferences in the United States, because the government had concluded that those were the venues where the velvet revolution was being planned. On my return, I would be forced to debrief Mr. X, and would need to mention that U.S. officials had been in the audience (the Iranian government might have had a watcher or an agent at such events, who could verify my account). I might as well have had a bull’s-eye painted on the back of my headscarf. I stopped appearing on western radio and television shows, because in the present climate I knew I would need to soften my analysis, and in that case I preferred to say nothing at all. I gave up meeting western diplomats, who were considered the local spy-masters. I used to help Iranian journalists who were applying to various fellowships or internship programs in the West, because I believed they would return to Iran and share such valuable experiences with their colleagues, bringing professionalism and global perspective to what was still a field full of propagandists. But no more. The minister of intelligence had recently accused the United States of exploiting Iranian journalists as part of its conspiracy, so editing someone’s application essay or tutoring in interview skills would be viewed as abetting espionage. Worst of all, perhaps, I had entirely given up advising the countless American individuals—documentary filmmakers, academics, aspiring journalists—who wanted to visit Iran and help change its bleak image in the United States. Cultural exchange broke down age-old misconceptions, but the practice was now being referred to as a Trojan horse."Now married and advancing in her pregnancy, with her work limited to relatively innocuous topics, Moaveni began to encounter more restrictions in her personal life as well. During a prenatal appointment at a hospital, she experienced a panic attack, followed by a realisation about what would be, by necessity, the shape of her life if she and her husband remained in Iran."... I felt suffocated. Was there no point where such conversations would end? Can my husband come in [during prenatal exams and the birth] or not, Can we pick this name or not, Can I wear this scarf or not, Can I enter this building or not? Of course, the fact was that there was no such point. That was the nature of totalitarian regimes. Previously, I had believed that this need not define my experience of life in Iran. This perspective was the key, I believed, to not living as a victim. But I was having difficulty maintaining it in the face of repeated violations. Perhaps under the moderate Khatami this attitude was progressive and empowering; under Ahmadinejad, it amounted to self-delusion."By 2006, Moaveni could see the signs of growing resistance to Ahmadinejad's political and social agenda among the Iranian people. "In the eighteen months since he took office, the president had managed to weaken Iran’s frail economy, provoke U.N. Security Council sanctions, elicit the threat of American military attack, alienate members of his own party (who broke off and started a front against him), offend the ayatollahs of Qom, and trigger the first serious student protest since 1999. Fifty activists burned an effigy of the president during his visit to Amir Kabir University; they set off firecrackers and interrupted his speech with chants of “Death to the dictator!” Their outburst reflected the widespread frustration also displayed during that month’s city council elections. Millions turned out across the nation to vote against Ahmadinejad’s allies in what amounted to a major, unequivocal setback for the president and his policies."Increasing crackdowns in Iran continued to affect both her personal and professional life. At one point Moaveni is threatened by Mr. X, who tells her that her work is bring assessed to see if she is guilty of dissemination anti-Iranian propaganda - a potentially serious charge. At the same time, the birth of her son leads to growing concerns over the long-term effects of raising a child in an environment so divided and unsettled, where a careless word from an innocent child about their parents' political views or practices inside the home could lead to major repercussions. Eventually, Moaveni and her husband decide to leave Iran for England. Leaving a country she had hoped to call her own, Moaveni reflects: "This was the second time I had moved to Iran as an adult with every intention of building a life here, and the second time that grand politics and the twists of Iranian-U.S. relations were undoing my purpose. Back in 2001, in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks and President Bush’s labeling of Iran as part of an “axis of evil,” I had been forced to leave when Mr. X made my reporting untenable by demanding to know the identities of my anonymous sources. I wondered whether most Americans had any idea how the actions of their government influenced the lives of those across the world. Iranians had a long, sophisticated tradition of conducting their own opposition to autocracy. When would Washington realize this, and allow Iranians to resist their tyrants in the manner of their own choosing?"

  • Behrooz Parhami
    2019-02-06 10:16

    This is an interesting and rather unusual book from the author of "Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran." For someone born outside Iran, learning about the country’s culture second-hand before she went to visit and live there, Moaveni has some very profound and spot-on observations about the country and its people, as evident from the rest of this review and this example of relating her fear of raising a child in Europe, where mothers and infants lead pretty isolated lives: “The culture of proximity I had found so cloying when I was single now seemed sensible and wise.” The unusual part starts at the very beginning, where there is no foreword: only an English translation of a few Rumi verses leading directly to Chapter 1.Moaveni, a girl born and raised in California, ended up in the Middle East and eventually decided to live and get married in Iran, the country she fell in love with during short visits from her base in Beirut for reporting assignments. It helped that she was given easy access to authorities for her news stories by virtue of her family connections. Eventually, though, Moaveni discovered the hard way that she and her newly formed family really did not belong in that society. Moaveni’s life challenges did not consist solely of the Iranian government’s heavy-handed treatment of journalists. She was subjected to the same double-life that many Iranians live (private, public), while also having to fit in a third life—the Western one. Contradictions show up everywhere, such as in people who fast but also enjoy an occasional drink. Humor plays an outsize role in making the double life tolerable. And, of course, humor also comes in the two private and public varieties.As she settled in Iran, Moaveni met with her government minder at unoccupied apartments or secluded hotels (always in a room, not at the lobby), trying to secure permissions for various reporting projects and receive instructions about taboos and red lines. During one of her dealings with the authorities, a man with two wives propositioned her, perhaps taking pity on her for being single at an “advanced” age. After falling in love with the Western-educated Arash Zeini and getting married, she tried to resort to the authorities’ Islamic sensibilities to get out of the secret meetings on the grounds that her husband was uncomfortable with them, but they would not budge. Moaveni found it ironic that Iran had turned into a society where neither Islamic arguments nor secular humanitarian ones carried any weight.In the words of an advice-giver, talking about those who live in Iran while trying to maintain Western sensibilities: “If you want to live a German life, you need to live in Germany. If you are going to live in Iran, you need to live as everyone else does. The same cereal, the same schools, the same [outdated] vaccines. You can’t live like an alien in your own society.” Alas, Moaveni and her husband did not heed this advice and suffered as a result, including one time when they decided to vaccinate their son in Europe and went through a great deal of trouble in trying to transport subsequent doses of the modern vaccine, which was unavailable in Iran and required refrigeration, back to Tehran.As a modern, financially independent woman, Moaveni’s values and lifestyle, such as not considering premarital cohabitation and sex a big deal, were in conflict even with members of her own family. Now, imagine having to hide different aspects of your life from your family, from neighbors, from your circle of friends, from the society at large, and from government enforcers! No wonder psychotherapy has become prevalent, at least in Tehran, and is no longer a taboo subject it once was. And then there is the all-important issue of proper disposal of nose parts resulting from rhinoplasty, a very common cosmetic operation in Iran.The author relates her own experience with a therapist (when the pressures of wedding arrangements, combined with family feuds got to her and her husband), who mostly talked about himself and his plans to immigrate to the West! Part of the stress came from the need to hide her pregnancy before and during the wedding ceremonies. In fact, Moaveni confides that she was surprised by her own feeling of shame due to the premarital pregnancy. We people of Iranian origins, who have lived in the West for decades without going back for visits, learn from this book that Iranian wedding packages now come with a “security” arrangement, whereby for a sum of money, the security company provides physical protection and also pays off local authorities to insure their non-interference in the festive gathering.Then there was the matter of Moaveni preserving her personal rights after becoming a wife. Many modern marriages include prenuptial agreements about the husband forfeiting some of his rights according to Islamic laws, such as barring his wife from traveling alone. Young, educated Iranian women sometimes do not worry about such issues, as they believe their equally modern and educated husbands would never exercise such rights. However, “every family had instances of sound marriages in which the secular, civilized husband used the country’s discriminatory laws to exact revenge or harass a wife.”Interestingly, Moaveni found that people’s expectation for a dignified life had been transformed under the brutal Islamic regime. They are now satisfied that the police force showing up to destroy satellite dishes on rooftops went about its business without insulting, abusing, or fining the tenants! She was pleasantly surprised when the topics of women’s sexual fulfillment and health were discussed at the educational sessions held by the marriage health bureau, where men were advised not to roll over and go to sleep immediately after sex. Some baby names are forbidden outright, but others are on the fringe of acceptability and can be gotten by giving a suitably large bribe to the officials. You typically mention the name you want and then fake disinterest by mentioning other names, in an effort to get away with a smaller bribe! Infants present many challenges to parents, who must spend time and much money on necessities such as good-quality baby formula and diapers. The difficulties multiply once the kids grow up, as they must be trained to respond appropriately to trick questions at school, such as “Whose parents consume alcohol at home?” Then there is the matter of school curricula. The third-grade textbook, for example, follows the life of a devout Muslim family whose fun outings consist of going to religious shrines; on rare occasions when the family goes on a road trip, they skip important cultural/historic sites, such as Persepolis near Shiraz.Upon returning to work three months after giving birth, Moaveni discovered that the political scene had changed and she would no longer be able to file edgy stories that even during the reform period, rubbed the authorities the wrong way (she received warnings and even threats for her work). She began writing benign news stories and, at first, thought that perhaps too much focus on the negative aspects of the Iranian society and government wasn’t the right thing to do anyway. But this kind of bland reporting turned out to be unsatisfying at the end. These professional hurdles, combined with social inconveniences, the problems of raising a child, and a cancer-stricken mother in California convinced Moaveni and her husband that it was time to return to the West. They settled on Europe as their new base, which allowed relatively easy access to the Middle East for reporting assignments, in case they required travel.Moaveni, her husband, and their son left Iran in the summer of 2007, around the time of gasoline rationing by the Ahmadinejad government and the unrest it caused on the streets, which went unchecked because the police had not been informed of the sudden change from unlimited supply at subsidized prices to quotas, beyond which free-market prices would apply. This state of affairs made it easier for the couple to abandon sentimentalism and to accept that they did not belong in the country. The couple settled in London’s Kilburn neighborhood, which they had chosen because of its affordability and multicultural composition. They learned only later that the neighborhood they soon dubbed Little Riyadh was more like a joyless Muslim village, featuring markets named “Ashoura,” whose Pakistani owner refused to sell haram candy to Muslim customers, and “Al-Mahdi.” Moaveni found it rather discomforting to have fled an Islamic theocracy only to land in the middle of an even more repressive form of the Islamic culture and the scornful looks of the white Brits. Moaveni writes that she went back and forth between a feeling of exaltation for living in a free country and longing for the country and culture that she had left behind, unable to resolve whether she had made the right decision to leave Iran. These doubts gave way to certainty when she and her son went on a 2-week vacation in Tehran. As they were headed back to London, her son’s finger got crushed by a moving stroller part, because it had to be dismantled again for a second x-ray examination at the airport. Paramedics not only arrived very late but dismissed the injury as not requiring any treatment. It became clear back in London that antibiotics were required to prevent infection and other complications. This incident served to remove any doubt that leaving Iran was the right decision. Moaveni realized that living in Iran took a toll due to the constant outrage it exacted on a modern person. Censorship, through heavy-handed oversight and permit requirements for various professions, jamming of satellite signals, blocking and intentional slowing of Internet connections, was unbearable to a free-thinking person like Moaveni. However, much of the social and administrative difficulties was likely due mostly to human incompetence, a condition that is also present in the West. In short, Moaveni realized that even though the lack of composure and balance in her Iranian life could not all be blamed on the government, it was still the case that she needed these qualities for a rewarding family and professional life and that she should be satisfied wherever these qualities existed, even if not in perfect forms.Let me end my review by this final sentiment on the last page of the book. The rich heritage of Persian literature, especially the work of its great poets, “are a reminder that though today Iranians are diminished by the cruel laws of unjust tyrants, it has not always been so, and thus will not always be.” [Postscript: The book’s acknowledgment section reflects the nature of relationships that afforded the author access to government officials in Iran. She thanks many friends and mentors, her husband and mother-in-law, Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi (a close friend whom Moaveni helped with a book she was writing), three female employees of the Ministry of Guidance and Islamic Culture, and Ambassador M. Javad Zarif (currently Iran’s FM).]