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Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing Up…
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Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America and American in… (2005)

by Azadeh Moaveni

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6201715,730 (3.67)41
  1. 00
    The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Iran of the late 20th century was a country of contradictions. Private and public lives, religious and secular lives, and men's and women's lives existed in direct opposition. Read thought-provoking, true-life stories about this in Persepolis and Lipstick Jihad.… (more)
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I came so close to giving this five stars, but if I'm being honest with myself, the fifth star would just have been representative of my personal bias toward books with a cultural anthropology bent.

I really enjoyed this book, but am a bit hesitant to recommend it because I can easily imagine the author coming across as whiny and irritating to others. What would be your reaction to a character who is constantly -- seriously, incessantly -- asking herself what it means to be Iranian and obsessing over the ways in which she is not Iranian "enough"? Surprisingly, my answer turned out to be, "Fascinated."

The author grew up in California, the daughter of parents who exiled themselves from Iran after the 1979 revolution. She returned to Iran two decades later and worked there as a journalist. I found her constant parsing of the nature of "Iranian-ness" to be much more interesting in print than I think it would have been in conversation, and it's peppered with first-person analysis of the ways in which young people instigated changes in the system of government through tiny, incremental rebellions -- hence the title. I'm not sure there's a name for this type of change, where you wear lipstick even though it's forbidden until it's de facto permitted. Then you start wearing navy headscarves instead of black, and then maybe medium blue. And it's not just you, it's everyone of your generation, slowly turning the tide.

So, who wants to go visit Tehran with me? ( )
  BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
Booklist 02/15/05
Multicultural Review 09/01/05

Kirkus Review starred 01/15/05
School Library Journal 06/15/05

Kliatt 07/01/06
Wilson's Senior High School 11/01/06
  HeatherSwinford | Feb 27, 2011 |
Overall I like the voice of this author. I appreciate her conflicts of "normal" adolescence and young adult-hood of longing for a "home" and stability. She gives a nice summary of the political conflicts at the time, mixed with her personal dealings of the situation.

I bought this book in 2005 and since then I feel like the market of contemporary Iranian/Persian memoires has been saturated. I would like to see more Arab/Arab American perspectives of current events - and not only from those of the Islamic faith. ( )
  lizzybeans11 | Jan 12, 2011 |
Azadeh Moaveni was born in the United States in 1976 to Iranian parents. As part of the Iranian diaspora community in Palo Alto, California, Moaveni experienced the pleasures and pains of being part of two cultures; however, she struggled with never quite feeling that she understood her family’s country of origin. In 1999, she moves to Iran to work as a journalist, and to discover her home.

Lipstick Jihad serves as both a personal story of Moaveni’s search for identity and an analysis of Iranian culture and politics at the dawn of the 21st century. Her experiences are at times disturbing, as you might expect, but they’re also sometimes surprisingly funny. Moaveni provides plenty of insights into Iranian politics and culture, which makes it timely reading right now.

This book is, of course, only one woman’s story, and so it’s not meant to be a comprehensive treatment of the situation in Iran. It is, however, a good, comprehensive look at one woman’s journey to discover her home and herself. I enjoyed it, and I learned a lot.

See my complete review at my blog. ( )
  teresakayep | Jul 4, 2009 |
Moaveni is an intriguing author and I enjoyed her memoir, but I realize that her memoir is hardly representative to the experiences of Iranians as a whole. She only really represents the privileged class, which is usually a class that is often exempted from the rules of society and can get away with a lot more. If you're looking for fun read with a multi-cultural twist, give this a shot. ( )
  ruinedbyreading | May 5, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
You ask me about that country, whose details now escape me,
I don't remember its geography, nothing of its history.
And should I visit in memory,
It would be as I would a past lover,
After years, for a night, no longer restless with passion,
With no fear of regret.
I have reached that age when one visits the heart merely as a courtesy.

-Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Dedication
For my parents,
and
in memory of Kaveh Golestan
First words
I was born in Palo Alto, California, into the lap of an Iranian diaspora community awash in nostalgia and longing for an Iran many thousands of miles away. (Introduction)
It was so cool and quiet up in the toot (mulberry) tree that I never wanted to come down. (Chapter One, The Secret Garden)
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An Iranian-American journalist, who grew up as a California girl living in two worlds, returns to Tehran and discovers not only the oppressive and decadent life of her Iranian counterparts who have grown up since the revolution, but the pain of searching for identity between two cultures, and for a homeland that may not exist. 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.… (more)

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