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The Rose Hotel: A Memoir of Secrets, Loss, and Love From Iran to America

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In this searing memoir, Rahimeh Andalibian struggles to make sense of two brutal crimes: a rape, avenged by her father, and a murder, of which her beloved oldest brother stands accused. Her journey, eloquently and intimately told, is a tribute to the resilience of families everywhere. Andalibian takes us first into her family's tranquil, jasmine-scented days of prosperity i In this searing memoir, Rahimeh Andalibian struggles to make sense of two brutal crimes: a rape, avenged by her father, and a murder, of which her beloved oldest brother stands accused. Her journey, eloquently and intimately told, is a tribute to the resilience of families everywhere. Andalibian takes us first into her family's tranquil, jasmine-scented days of prosperity in Mashhad, Iran, where she and her brothers grow up in luxury at the Rose Hotel, owned by her father. In the aftermath of the 1979 revolution the family is forces to flee: first to the safety of a mansion in Tehran, next to a squalid one-room flat in London, and finally to California, where they discover they are not free from the weight of their own secrets. Caught between their parents' traditional values and their desire to embrace and American way of life, Andalibian and her brothers struggle to find peace in the wake of tragedy. In the tradition of "The Kite Runner," "House of Sand and Fog," and "Reading Lolita in Tehran," this is a universal story of healing and rebirth.


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In this searing memoir, Rahimeh Andalibian struggles to make sense of two brutal crimes: a rape, avenged by her father, and a murder, of which her beloved oldest brother stands accused. Her journey, eloquently and intimately told, is a tribute to the resilience of families everywhere. Andalibian takes us first into her family's tranquil, jasmine-scented days of prosperity i In this searing memoir, Rahimeh Andalibian struggles to make sense of two brutal crimes: a rape, avenged by her father, and a murder, of which her beloved oldest brother stands accused. Her journey, eloquently and intimately told, is a tribute to the resilience of families everywhere. Andalibian takes us first into her family's tranquil, jasmine-scented days of prosperity in Mashhad, Iran, where she and her brothers grow up in luxury at the Rose Hotel, owned by her father. In the aftermath of the 1979 revolution the family is forces to flee: first to the safety of a mansion in Tehran, next to a squalid one-room flat in London, and finally to California, where they discover they are not free from the weight of their own secrets. Caught between their parents' traditional values and their desire to embrace and American way of life, Andalibian and her brothers struggle to find peace in the wake of tragedy. In the tradition of "The Kite Runner," "House of Sand and Fog," and "Reading Lolita in Tehran," this is a universal story of healing and rebirth.

30 review for The Rose Hotel: A Memoir of Secrets, Loss, and Love From Iran to America

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn in FL

    Rahimeh Andalibian is a successful woman. A practicing doctor of psychology and investor/businesswoman, who shares with readers the silent suffering that her family of origin had shrouded their most painful experiences. When tragedy hits their family only days after the Iran Revolution began with the fall of the Shah in 1979, major depression sweeps several family members as together they face tremendous terror, which grips each one. Several go into denial of the facts thinking is best for the y Rahimeh Andalibian is a successful woman. A practicing doctor of psychology and investor/businesswoman, who shares with readers the silent suffering that her family of origin had shrouded their most painful experiences. When tragedy hits their family only days after the Iran Revolution began with the fall of the Shah in 1979, major depression sweeps several family members as together they face tremendous terror, which grips each one. Several go into denial of the facts thinking is best for the youngsters, but this choice is so blinding that impact leads each family member to disconnect from one another to seek a workable path as they struggle for survival. The strong bonds of love is so damaged that it will be many years and many wrong choices before they slowly reconnect and rebuild; much credit goes to Rahimeh's deep devotion to them serving as the impetus to guide them to a path of true healing and recovery. It took several days of contemplation for me just to summarize only the highlights without exposing the details best told by author. Although there are a few places in the story where the reader wonders if an event isn't out of sequential order; however, this is a minor defect that does not impact the deeper truths the author conveys. Rahimeh does an excellent job creating vivid scenes, so that you too can smell the flowers as she walks past the garden and appreciate the grandeur of the Rose Hotel that her father built from the ground up as a very young man with only a dream and no funds of his own, to a elegant hotel visited by tourists to Mecca the world over. They were admired in their community and quite wealthy. Ironically, her father tries to do a good deed from which springs a misunderstanding that gets lost among the revolution's chaos. Ultimately, this misunderstanding spins out of control, the result being the family experiences several dire consequences leaving them emotionally wounded, penniless and fleeing their homeland. They end up living in to a one room apartment in Great Britain and eventually relocate to Southern California to rebuild their lives and finances. As the children attempt to assimilate into a culture wildly different than their homeland, things turn sour once again. As Rahimeh struggles to find her own identity and heal her own pain, she realizes this will only happen if each individual family members address their pain and accepts the life paths that others have taken. Rahimeh has done an exceptional job introducing each family member honestly with their strengths and weaknesses (respectfully). Her courage is admirable, yet she never boasts of her role in the healing that evolves. The love this family exhibits is tangible. The story has so many tragedies, it could be a Greek play. There are frequent mentions of the beliefs and practices of Islam, which are integral to understanding the reasons out of which many of the situations arose. It is shared in such a way that no one regardless of their faith or spiritual practices would find it as a tool for conversion or insulting to another faith. I recommend this story as an example of the resilience and strength this family found through their persecutions and losses. There is not a wasted word. As I read, my interest never flagged. Thank you to Amazon Vine for providing this book in exchange for a honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    "The Rose Hotel" a stirring and poignant memoir which I won through Goodreads/First Reads opens in Mashhad Iran in 1978 where resistance is growing against the corrupt, authoritarian government of the Shah but Haji Andaliban the hardworking, devout owner of the Rose Hotel and his family thrive. In an atmosphere of discontent as the Islamic Revolution brews , Haji not only agrees to hide Ayatollah Khabazi an intimate in the Khomeini circle, and his family but to find and hold two young rapists in "The Rose Hotel" a stirring and poignant memoir which I won through Goodreads/First Reads opens in Mashhad Iran in 1978 where resistance is growing against the corrupt, authoritarian government of the Shah but Haji Andaliban the hardworking, devout owner of the Rose Hotel and his family thrive. In an atmosphere of discontent as the Islamic Revolution brews , Haji not only agrees to hide Ayatollah Khabazi an intimate in the Khomeini circle, and his family but to find and hold two young rapists in a room in the hotel because of the warped justice system. When the boys repent of their wrongdoing, not only are they forgiven but the compassionate Haji gives them part-time work in the hotel. It is this deed that unleashes a wave of trouble that brings death, financial loss and years of misfortune to the Andaliban family as well as sweeping them away from their home in Iran to England and finally America. Rahimeh Andaliban recounts her family's heartbreaking journey of loss after injustice steals the life of her brother Abdollah. This is a beautiful and powerful story of a family's struggle through tragedy, mood disorders , secrets and trauma as they become a beacon of light for others who can learn from their imperfections, resilience, courage and love for one another. Through her memories of the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini and the flagrant abuses of his morality police she brings to life to Iran's historical past with the dawn of an Islamic Revolution that brings tragedy to the Andaliban's doorstep sending them into poverty in England. But where there is faith and courage there's hope. As events unfold in this finely -tuned narrative Haji Andaliban struggles not only to provide for his family, support his wife through her acute depression but to bring his two sons and daughter Rahimeh to England. In a destiny that sees the family settle in America, opening a carpet store and integrating into the Iranian community, trouble is never far behind as lies and secrets about Abdollah's death begin to unravel. With heartwarming honesty Rahimeh Andaliban looks at the vulnerabilities and imperfections of her family as they struggle with culture shock, divorces, illness, depression, teenage rebellion and divorces. Yet through all their pain and heartbreak they fight to make their dreams a reality with steadfast determination. In the "The Rose Hotel" you're swept emotionally into the life of the Andalibans. You laugh with Zain who shares his humour and his Kit Kats; are drawn to the gentle, calmness of Iman; to the weighty burdens and commitment of Hadi; to the strength, unwavering devotion and faith of Haji and the love and selflessness of their mother who craves her own financial independence. From a happy, contented child in Iraq, to a student labelled and bullied in America Rahimeh Andaliban is a shining example of willpower and endurance as she's struggles not only to help her family but against tradition so she guide others through their trauma. I thoroughly enjoyed this captivating memoir and rate it highly.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    Give a control freak religion, a family, and a country where emotional (and physical) abuse is accepted and you have a dysfunctional family. Add the Andalibian family’s bent towards risk taking and burying secrets and you have a toxic brew. In Iran, the eldest son’s rebellion led to tragedy for which Maman (the mother) blames Baba (her controlling husband). Other tragedies follow. It would seem that Baba would be at home in the new Islamic state and the Ayatollahs seem to know they owe him but th Give a control freak religion, a family, and a country where emotional (and physical) abuse is accepted and you have a dysfunctional family. Add the Andalibian family’s bent towards risk taking and burying secrets and you have a toxic brew. In Iran, the eldest son’s rebellion led to tragedy for which Maman (the mother) blames Baba (her controlling husband). Other tragedies follow. It would seem that Baba would be at home in the new Islamic state and the Ayatollahs seem to know they owe him but the family emigrates ostensibly for Maman’s medical treatments. The deeper reason for leaving Iran is revealed to the author (and the reader) later. You follow this family’s emotional life as they try to ignore their grief. They move from Iran to England and then to the US where Baba finds it difficult to control his Elvis-loving kids. There are plenty of arguments, shouting scenes and leavings. The family’s finances are as rocky as their emotional lives. Following success as a hotelier in Iran, Baba lives for two years in England on no income by borrowing from friends (who and how is not explained). Successful businesses and bankruptcies follow for Baba and his children. In good times they surprise each other with gifts of cars which they drive fast and sometimes total. The author becomes a clinical psychologist, specializing in trauma. There are some interventions and as the book ends it seems progress in living with the past has been made. While this is a dizzying portrait, it is an important narrative. Today’s immigrants are not the huddled masses of the 1920. If the new Americans did not leave for a stable business prospect or well-paid position, there is most likely a sad story left behind. Without financial stability, the problems of integrating to US life are amplified. Despite all Baba’s talents (there are many, he has negotiated his way this far) he is helpless in making his children live the lives he chooses for them.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Laila

    I received an advance copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you, Goodreads, for helping me find out about The Rose Hotel. This memoir follows the story of the author as a young girl during the 1979 revolution in Iran, and the hardships that followed for her family. The author's eldest brother was accused of a terrible crime, and the family felt the emotional repercussions for decades afterwards. The content is quite emotional, and there is a brief graphic description of a crime tha I received an advance copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you, Goodreads, for helping me find out about The Rose Hotel. This memoir follows the story of the author as a young girl during the 1979 revolution in Iran, and the hardships that followed for her family. The author's eldest brother was accused of a terrible crime, and the family felt the emotional repercussions for decades afterwards. The content is quite emotional, and there is a brief graphic description of a crime that I almost couldn't get through. I have to admit to not knowing a great deal about the political history surrounding the Iranian Revolution. I'm sure that would've given me more context for the story, but it was still fascinating to hear about that time in history through the lens of one family's experience. The book touches on themes of loss, trauma, religion, and the immigrant experience in America. Andalibian's writing style is straightforward and easy to read. So while I can't say that the content of this book was enjoyable for me- it's difficult to read about this family's struggles- I did find it insightful and an interesting read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Genna Evelyn

    An excellent and captivating generational tale about a Muslim family in Iran and America. I wish better editing had been done... What Is up with shoddy editing these days??? But other than that I really enjoyed Dr. Rahimeh's narrative of her life an experiences growing up in a (typically!) dysfunctional and broken family and her observations of its effect on each member, as she grew up an became a clinical psychologist. Very eye opening and thought provoking. An excellent and captivating generational tale about a Muslim family in Iran and America. I wish better editing had been done... What Is up with shoddy editing these days??? But other than that I really enjoyed Dr. Rahimeh's narrative of her life an experiences growing up in a (typically!) dysfunctional and broken family and her observations of its effect on each member, as she grew up an became a clinical psychologist. Very eye opening and thought provoking.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michele Gorman

    This was a good story, well-written and it kept my attention. My only criticism is that the narrator used a lot of foreshadowing, and I'd have preferred to read about the events as they happened rather than be told beforehand that they were going to happen. This was a good story, well-written and it kept my attention. My only criticism is that the narrator used a lot of foreshadowing, and I'd have preferred to read about the events as they happened rather than be told beforehand that they were going to happen.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlin

    Time it took to read: 9 nights. Not because of lack of reading – I read every night – this is a LONG book. It is an auto-biography of Dr. Andalibian’s life, her whole life to date. Did I mention it was long? That sounds harsh. It was a book out of my comfort zone about a young girl and her family growing up in Mashhad, Iran during the late 70′s, early 80′s all the way up to current time. I downloaded it because of the great reviews and to broaden my knowledge of another culture. I do enjoy books Time it took to read: 9 nights. Not because of lack of reading – I read every night – this is a LONG book. It is an auto-biography of Dr. Andalibian’s life, her whole life to date. Did I mention it was long? That sounds harsh. It was a book out of my comfort zone about a young girl and her family growing up in Mashhad, Iran during the late 70′s, early 80′s all the way up to current time. I downloaded it because of the great reviews and to broaden my knowledge of another culture. I do enjoy books that include historical facts with a story (usually fictional) woven in – historical fiction. The story and struggles of this family were just as good (meaning it would be hard to make this stuff up) as fiction. So full of drama that you’d almost wish it were made up as you can feel the pain of this family through young Rahimeh’s eyes. A pain that lasts a lifetime for them. Rahimeh is the only daughter to “Maman & Baba”, has 3 older brothers (Abdollah, Hadi, and Zain) and 1 younger brother (Imam). The story starts out when she is 4, describing their life of luxury at the Rose Hotel, which her family owns, in Iran. It quickly fills up with drama, both political and within their family, and takes a dark turn. The family is forced to make many changes including moves to Germany, England, and eventually the US. Each family member has their own share (really enough for anyone’s lifetime) of struggles, most centered around one tragic event, but also physical, mental, emotional, and cultural. Throughout the book, the reader learns more about this “event” as Rahimeh does too. Just when you think you know it all – more details come out – even at the very end. I found it hard to believe the details a 4 year old would remember, but it seems as Rahimeh got older, she asked more questions, so many of the details may not have been first hand, but later described to her by other family members. It is not a happy story. I’d say it was wrapped up nicely at the end – but as an autobiography – the author was able to choice where in her life to end the story and I believe she chose well. I was more into the story in the beginning, that was where there was more of a tie in to current events in Iran and I liked reading how the family dealt with those events on a personal level. As the story moved over to the US, it was interesting to see how an Iranian family assimilated into American culture. But it also spent a lot of time on personal struggles not related to the times or culture and tended to drag on and even became repetitive and cyclical at times. I hesitate to criticize to much because it is a true story after all – so it is not as if the author can change that – but with the length – I feel some parts may have been better off left out. Overall it was a good read. I feel smarter (which is good for me because of some of the fluffy, chicklit books I tend to gravitate to. It took me out of my comfort zone and I commend Dr. Andalibian for sharing her story. I think I may need something shorter and lighter before diving into another book like this.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Three times a halting strike and you are out. The earlier two sessions I read nearly 100 pages each time (weeks apart as well because of an intervening trip) and going back for the third attempt I got in about 30 pages more before giving up progression of the general moan, and proceeded to skim read to the ending. Sad, horrific family history after the Shah's fall and subsequent Iranian Revolution. And yet as difficult as the monstrous crimes and behaviors described, it was yet further beyond di Three times a halting strike and you are out. The earlier two sessions I read nearly 100 pages each time (weeks apart as well because of an intervening trip) and going back for the third attempt I got in about 30 pages more before giving up progression of the general moan, and proceeded to skim read to the ending. Sad, horrific family history after the Shah's fall and subsequent Iranian Revolution. And yet as difficult as the monstrous crimes and behaviors described, it was yet further beyond difficult in reading the text. The prose form and word formation needed immense editing and some sense to approach a style. Too many words- dozens of them constantly repeated, too disjointed conceptually. In spots there is so little continuity of any thoughts that you wonder if you changed locations again or if a decade has passed? It's focus: a family of seven and the suffering and tragedy surrounding the murder of the oldest son, the author's brother. Her Father begins as the Rose Hotel Manager. Despite the torturous politico and stealthy hiding- they emigrate with nary a lack of funds. This is a family that before the reversals traveled world wide and had many servants within the highest societal layers of privilege. And yet they suffer as well. It was not an enjoyable read. The people of this family all sincerely love each other and have known sorrow and trauma. But the judgments and consequences plied by this religious government and against women especially? Beyond my words of description that it could begin to be tolerated or condoned in any sense - even one of diplomacy. Yet what is so startling is that this family was wealthy and fairly westernized and Rahimeh's life proceeded to better and far luckier choices. Well worth trading for the best beloved and most desired food and locale or cultural history. Kindly oppression or murderous oppression is still oppression.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn

    This is a beautiful #ownvoices story. Andalibian tells about her childhood in the late ‘70s in Iran and her immigration to London and, ultimately, the U.S. This book made me reflect so much on how connected we are to each other as humans. Since the author is a psychologist, she recounts her family's trauma in a way that's insightful and emotionally intelligent. I really valued hearing about her life experiences, her Iranian-American culture, and her path to healing. This is a beautiful #ownvoices story. Andalibian tells about her childhood in the late ‘70s in Iran and her immigration to London and, ultimately, the U.S. This book made me reflect so much on how connected we are to each other as humans. Since the author is a psychologist, she recounts her family's trauma in a way that's insightful and emotionally intelligent. I really valued hearing about her life experiences, her Iranian-American culture, and her path to healing.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anand

    If you ignore the specifics, this story can be a mirror for so many of us, whatever country, culture and religion you may belong to. Many of us are transplants, either from region to another within our own country, or from one country to another. This story so lucidly, but so brilliantly and poignantly, captures the emotions, lows and vagaries of life faced by such transplants. On one hand are certain societal norms that compels a person (and families) to conform, whether or not it causes discom If you ignore the specifics, this story can be a mirror for so many of us, whatever country, culture and religion you may belong to. Many of us are transplants, either from region to another within our own country, or from one country to another. This story so lucidly, but so brilliantly and poignantly, captures the emotions, lows and vagaries of life faced by such transplants. On one hand are certain societal norms that compels a person (and families) to conform, whether or not it causes discomfort to the ones expected to conform. On the other hand are cultural shocks that one has to endure due to translocation from the place where a person 'belongs', to an alien place that brings with it alien ways of life. This memoir captures all of this, and also boldly describes/discloses the trials and tribulations of the author's family, who I must comment have endured so much more than most of us can never even begin to imagine. Death sentence for a teenage son (and brother to author and her siblings), bankruptcies, cultural shocks, near perpetual bouts of depressions for the mother, waywardness of teenage children, divorces. The list is longer, but suffice it to say that despite not being a professional writer, the author has managed to write a tale so enthralling, that you would not miss reading a thriller fiction!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    4.5/5 The Rose Hotel: A Memoir of Secrets, Loss, and Love From Iran to America by Rahimeh Andalibian is an exceptionally beautiful memoir and which captures all of the minute details of life alongside the overpowering events and shows how family is shaped, the bonds forged out of pain, grief, struggles, and well as immense love and forgiveness. In Andalibian’s memoir she tries to make sense of her father avenging a rape as well as dealing with her brother being accused of murder, and in her journ 4.5/5 The Rose Hotel: A Memoir of Secrets, Loss, and Love From Iran to America by Rahimeh Andalibian is an exceptionally beautiful memoir and which captures all of the minute details of life alongside the overpowering events and shows how family is shaped, the bonds forged out of pain, grief, struggles, and well as immense love and forgiveness. In Andalibian’s memoir she tries to make sense of her father avenging a rape as well as dealing with her brother being accused of murder, and in her journey to make sense of these two brutal acts, Andalibian takes the reader back through her life which began in Mashhad, Iran, as she and her brothers spend their youth living in the Rose Hotel, then the revolution in 1979 which eventually forces the family to relocate to one-room flat in London, and eventually to California, where the family quickly learns one cannot out run one’s troubles. The Rose Hotel is deeply atmospheric and the reader is transported into the life of this family and it is quite easy to become lost in Andalibian’s life and struggles. I read the book in one siting and find myself now still reflecting on what I have read. I would not hesitate to recommend The Rose Hotel to al readers who enjoy memoirs, literary fiction, and especially to book discussion groups.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Angel **Book Junkie**

    So, at first I was thinking more like two stars but after learning that The Rose Hotel was the authors real life journey I felt compelled to give it an additional star. Also, the author can write a story. By the time that I got a little over halfway thru the book I was wishing for the book to end. I felt like the events were amazing and seeing the struggle and the shame of the family was remarkable. When I was reading how deep the dialogue was in the story I felt like there were times that I fel So, at first I was thinking more like two stars but after learning that The Rose Hotel was the authors real life journey I felt compelled to give it an additional star. Also, the author can write a story. By the time that I got a little over halfway thru the book I was wishing for the book to end. I felt like the events were amazing and seeing the struggle and the shame of the family was remarkable. When I was reading how deep the dialogue was in the story I felt like there were times that I felt like the author gave too much detail which caused me not to be able to place myself in the story as I wanted to. I think that the struggle themselves were heartbreaking and although I found myself torn about this book I will say that I hope and pray that the author knows that her story is a good one no matter what the rating of the book is. I think that there were other portions of the book that bothered me but then I had to see the story through the authors eyes and that somehow changed my point of view. So I am going to leave this at 3 stars and move on from here with a new eye-opening experience in the life of this author.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Soad

    Writing this review is difficult for me.I finished this book in two sittings and it was hard for me to read.I am not a person that can handle tragedy.On the outside I am stronger then a rock but inside I am the weakest sparrow.Being an Iraqi-american living in Iraq you really dont know which is home and in the end neither are.It is very difficult living in a foreign land ...either way.Though I respect this story and its narrator I disagree with her position on religion. Being Shia we are taught Writing this review is difficult for me.I finished this book in two sittings and it was hard for me to read.I am not a person that can handle tragedy.On the outside I am stronger then a rock but inside I am the weakest sparrow.Being an Iraqi-american living in Iraq you really dont know which is home and in the end neither are.It is very difficult living in a foreign land ...either way.Though I respect this story and its narrator I disagree with her position on religion. Being Shia we are taught to stronger then our suffering. Because in the end we are better off then most.That doesnt mean that other peoples suffering is small but it means everyone should in a way respect others suffering. I read somewhere maybe on a shia pamphlet that said "suffering is a painful blessing." because without it we wouldn't know who we are.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ginni

    (From a Goodreads giveaway.) The Rose Hotel was beautiful, lyrical, and impossible to put down. I became so invested in the story that when I finished it, I found myself wanting to look up the "characters," about whom I had come to care deeply. Her father could be my father, were he Christian instead of Muslim. The ending was real and strangely satisfying. I only wish the writing had been stronger. It's such a compelling story that it's frustrating to think how much better it could have been with (From a Goodreads giveaway.) The Rose Hotel was beautiful, lyrical, and impossible to put down. I became so invested in the story that when I finished it, I found myself wanting to look up the "characters," about whom I had come to care deeply. Her father could be my father, were he Christian instead of Muslim. The ending was real and strangely satisfying. I only wish the writing had been stronger. It's such a compelling story that it's frustrating to think how much better it could have been with better editing. (As an example, the omniscient viewpoint takes all the emotional punch out of the author's discovery of the truth about her brother. Why not just let us discover it when she did?) Regardless, it's a must-read. Rahimeh and her family will be on my mind for a long time.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    I tried so hard to like this book. The story was interesting and I kept reading because I wanted to see where it was going, BUT the writing style was atrocious. Transitions from one event to the other were very flat (and then another really bad thing happened) and the characters were amazingly flat. I imagine the writing the book was therapeutic for the author, but I have read other books that do a much better job of presenting dysfunctional families, cultural / political upheaval and the healin I tried so hard to like this book. The story was interesting and I kept reading because I wanted to see where it was going, BUT the writing style was atrocious. Transitions from one event to the other were very flat (and then another really bad thing happened) and the characters were amazingly flat. I imagine the writing the book was therapeutic for the author, but I have read other books that do a much better job of presenting dysfunctional families, cultural / political upheaval and the healing process.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chantelle

    I loved this memoir. I loved Rahimeh's family, as full of flaws as they were. I almost had to give up in the middle because bad. things. kept. happening. and I couldn't bear it. I couldn't bear it if this entire family went through everything they had to go through and things STILL didn't turn out well for them. I'm so glad I stuck with it and finished the book. I'm so glad Rahimeh's family was able to come together and heal. I loved this memoir. I loved Rahimeh's family, as full of flaws as they were. I almost had to give up in the middle because bad. things. kept. happening. and I couldn't bear it. I couldn't bear it if this entire family went through everything they had to go through and things STILL didn't turn out well for them. I'm so glad I stuck with it and finished the book. I'm so glad Rahimeh's family was able to come together and heal.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Davis

    This book was so awesome in not only the struggle of family histories/myths and cultural education and experiences different from my own, but the writing brought me right along in the story. It was beautifully written with compassion and brought to my mind my own family drama. Very well done. Thank you. I will recommend as well on my page on Facebook. thank you Rahimeh Andalibian.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Vivienne Gardner

    This is one of the most compelling books I have read for a long time. When I had finished it I wanted more. Her descriptions of her family and their life is brilliant and it makes you want to meet Maman and Baba in person. This also gives a clear and personal account of the revolution in Iran and a good understanding of those who follow Islam. All together an absolutely excellent book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Allyson

    The story was intriguing, but the writing of this memoir was not so great. With better editing, it could have been more heartwrenching, but instead I found the writing jarring and lacking a good flow. I've heard comparisons of this book made to Khaled Hosseini's works; While the frames are similar, I was a bit let down as this author's writing is definitely subpar to Hosseini's. The story was intriguing, but the writing of this memoir was not so great. With better editing, it could have been more heartwrenching, but instead I found the writing jarring and lacking a good flow. I've heard comparisons of this book made to Khaled Hosseini's works; While the frames are similar, I was a bit let down as this author's writing is definitely subpar to Hosseini's.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cyndi

    Fascinating story of a family forced to leave Iran adjust to a new life. Highly recommended.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mary Drayer

    I highly recommend this book...the reader is transported to Iran-learn a little history, tragedy, family issues, and coming to America.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Fran

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Although the book was simply written, recounting the events in the life of a family, it was very powerful. Rahimeh relived the events from her life as a young girl born at the time her father took over running the Rose Hotel in Iran. For five years she led an idyllic and safe life with her family of 4 brothers and her parents. Then the chaotic revolution broke out in Iran which led to major changes in their lives highlighted by the false imprisonment and death of her older brother. This pivotal Although the book was simply written, recounting the events in the life of a family, it was very powerful. Rahimeh relived the events from her life as a young girl born at the time her father took over running the Rose Hotel in Iran. For five years she led an idyllic and safe life with her family of 4 brothers and her parents. Then the chaotic revolution broke out in Iran which led to major changes in their lives highlighted by the false imprisonment and death of her older brother. This pivotal time defined the family from there on in. From Iran, to England and finally to America we witness the family being torn apart from their homeland and each other and experiencing the demons created by their experiences in their former homeland. In this book we witness the experiences of immigrants adapting to new cultures in a new world and the devastation caused by drugs, alcohol and reckless living. We also feel the clash of cultures as children are torn between the traditions so cherished by their parents (especially their father) and the ways of a new world. Rahimeh Andalibian has done a wonderful and beautiful job in explaining what happened to Iran during the revolution in 1979 and the effects it had on one family displaced from their home.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Rahimeh and her family fled Iran to escape the 1979 revolution. Her and her family have a powerful story full of adversity, tragedy, and grief. I loved reading this immigration story from a unique perspective and yet there were so many universal truths to be found. One part of the story that stood out the most involved an injustice and tragedy; my heart hurts for the family. I also admired the honesty in the story. This family is quite imperfect (they experience questionable parenting decisions, Rahimeh and her family fled Iran to escape the 1979 revolution. Her and her family have a powerful story full of adversity, tragedy, and grief. I loved reading this immigration story from a unique perspective and yet there were so many universal truths to be found. One part of the story that stood out the most involved an injustice and tragedy; my heart hurts for the family. I also admired the honesty in the story. This family is quite imperfect (they experience questionable parenting decisions, teenage rebellion, and alcoholism) but this beautiful family is also brave, resilient, and loyal.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Firoozeh

    This wasn't an easy read for me as the pain in it was too familiar. I tortured myself to finish reading it but at the same time, I couldn't put it down once I started. I ranked this book based on its story and not the literature. I admire the author for her braveness and strength as I know how hard it is to go through all the pain and yet manage to survive so successfully and gracefully. Not a lot of people can go through all these hardships and traumas not falling apart and be able to turn thei This wasn't an easy read for me as the pain in it was too familiar. I tortured myself to finish reading it but at the same time, I couldn't put it down once I started. I ranked this book based on its story and not the literature. I admire the author for her braveness and strength as I know how hard it is to go through all the pain and yet manage to survive so successfully and gracefully. Not a lot of people can go through all these hardships and traumas not falling apart and be able to turn their pain into something so valuable.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    I was browsing the memoir/biography shelves of my local library and picked this up solely based on the cover design (it's so gorgeous!). Then when I read the description, I knew I wanted to give it a try. Ever since my book club read The Kite Runner, I've been wanting to read more memoirs/novels about the Middle East. I'm glad that I tried it, but it was just okay. This book spans Andalibian's whole life (for the most part) and it moved along quickly, but not too quickly, which I appreciated. It I was browsing the memoir/biography shelves of my local library and picked this up solely based on the cover design (it's so gorgeous!). Then when I read the description, I knew I wanted to give it a try. Ever since my book club read The Kite Runner, I've been wanting to read more memoirs/novels about the Middle East. I'm glad that I tried it, but it was just okay. This book spans Andalibian's whole life (for the most part) and it moved along quickly, but not too quickly, which I appreciated. It was interesting to get another perspective on the conflict in Iran. What I didn't like was that the description makes it sound way more exciting that what it was. Their family goes through a tragedy (which completely broke my heart), but it wasn't what I was expecting based on the description. There was too much "this is what happened" and not enough "here's how it affected me."

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amy Doeun

    Great look into a turbulent time and the multiple viewpoints that shaped a revolution that eventually went terribly awry. Wonderful in its perspective and about the effects of trauma on a family even those who did not actually live through it or remember it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    SusanS

    An interesting look at the collision of politics and culture in Iran. The sorrows of this family were often difficult to process. The price they paid for a teen-aged son's immaturity echoed through many decades. An interesting look at the collision of politics and culture in Iran. The sorrows of this family were often difficult to process. The price they paid for a teen-aged son's immaturity echoed through many decades.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kyra May

    Enjoyed how compelling and real Rahimeh was in sharing her story. Heartbreaking and tragic, she tells a story that followed each of her family members across generations. Not all hope was lost when at the end she and her family are able to find some peace.

  29. 4 out of 5

    KathyJ

    I very much enjoyed this memoir of Andalibian growing up in Iran in privileged circumstances, only to have life totally upended by the 1979 revolution, strict Islamic rule, loss of home and country. An absorbing tale of how the upheavals impacted one family and their traditions. Recommended.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Uncle Alfred

    This is the eyes wide-open version of the Iranian revolution. It is a horrific story, but somehow written with beauty and dignity. I found it fascinating, painful and a plucker of the heart strings.

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