What I valued most about this book was the analysis of negotiating rules in Iran. What seemed to come automatically to local Iranians had to be learned by Maoveni, who had come from the US with a mythic version of Iran. She had to unlearn as she learned–and this made her explanations more cogent for a western audience. Life there was not without danger, but perhaps less danger than our imaginations would assume–at least for the savvy. And perhaps, less oppression, though the experience of escaping it was not without risk.
While Moaveni’s identity formation was a back drop, it was not the focus; the focus was on Iran itself, and the Iranian peoples’ struggles and disillusionments. I appreciated glimpses of Iranian people, places, and customs. I enjoyed meeting her family members and friends.
Bookending the narrative with the embassy hostages and the attack of 9/11 seems apt, viewing how that marks the moments Iran is part of awareness for many of us.