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

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

3.3 9
by Azadeh Moaveni
     
 

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As far back as she can remember, Azadeh Moaveni has felt at odds with her tangled identity as an Iranian-American. In suburban America, Azadeh lived in two worlds. At home, she was the daughter of the Iranian exile community, serving tea, clinging to tradition, and dreaming of Tehran. Outside, she was a California girl who practiced yoga and listened to Madonna.

Overview

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

Editorial Reviews

Azadeh Moaveni was born in Palo Alto, California, but her roots extend half a world away in Iran. As she grew to adulthood, this daughter of exiles fantasized about connecting to her parents' homeland. Finally, in 2000, she got the chance. For two years, she covered the Tehran beat for Time. Her memoir Lipstick Jihad puts a personal stamp on her experiences there, navigating between sharp factual reporting and a winning subjectivity.
KLIATT
Moaveni's story of mixed-up identity will appeal to teenagers and college students, with its hip humor and frank emotion. The author was born in California into an Iranian community of exiles. Before and during the 1979 Islamic Revolution, many of her relatives, including her mother and father, left Iran?—?but Iran didn't leave them. The author is especially adept at describing her awkward and frustrating teenage years, living with a mother who distained everything American and expected her child to conform to Iranian female standards. After Moaveni graduated from college she accepted a job in Cairo and was there in 1999 when the student revolution erupted in Tehran. Because of her family contacts she was able to travel easily to the beleaguered city and was eventually hired as a stringer for Time magazine; she was the only American journalist allowed in Tehran during these turbulent times. Her rose-colored picture of Iran, encouraged for years by her relatives in exile, soon turned another shade altogether. The Iran she expected existed only in the memories of an earlier generation. From her youthful vantage, she was able to describe the political and social situation in the capital, combined with the experience she brought as a well-educated outsider with an insider's sensibility. When she returned to the US, and after 9/11, she found herself in the even more peculiar position of having to defend the whole Middle East, which irritated and silenced her. At the same time she reflected on being able to date a man in public without being asked if they were related, and on the absence of the nightmares that had become a regular part of her experience in Iran. Moaveni is a goodwriter. She has not found her place in the large world, but perhaps the large world has found a place for her. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2005, PublicAffairs, 260p., Ages 15 to adult.
—Penelope Power

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781586485498
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
03/31/2007
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
589,715
File size:
395 KB

Meet the Author

Azadeh Moaveni grew up in San Jose and studied politics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She won a Fulbright fellowship to Egypt, and studied Arabic at the American University in Cairo. For three years she worked across the Middle East as a reporter for Time Magazine, before joining the Los Angeles Times to cover the war in Iraq. She lives in Beirut.

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Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a book that appears to have been written by an adolescent, although we know better. The author is engaged in a fantasy of her own creation and that fantasy keeps her from seeing reality, although she speaks constantly of others avoiding reality. Perhaps it is simply that she is too young, but she presents an almost superficial analysis of serious issues. For example, she speaks of police brutality and discrimination and asks how it differs from the imprisonment of the Japenese in pre WWII America. She fails to understand that every culture has its outrageous opinion holders and its brutes. However, when the locals get out of hand in countries with functioning due process the Federal government nationalizes the guard and protects its citizens. It becomes dangerous when the government forgets that it has laws, or when its religious beliefs decree law. There is a dramatic difference between the interpersonal and the institutional and the author, although familiar with both the culture of Iran and of the U.S., fails to see or understand the difference. It is difficult to tell what this author is seeking and it would appear that she may be among the last to figure it out. It may be that she is simply too young to have developed an historical perspective and thus has to personalize every event.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As an Iranian American this book was very enlightening. I too was disappointed when I visited Iran. A certain Hollywood image is expected from shallow relatives. The new generation is indeed lost and confused about who they are as Iranians. "Lipstick Jihad" has taught me the underlying issues of what Iran is today. A struggle to be accepted in modern Iran, cross-cultural matters are explored in this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
this book shows a true story and the cultural differences that we Americans are often oblivious to. it was well written and depicts the life of woman in american who returns to her homeland iran because she is a journalist.