I read this for a student, not expecting it to be anything more than a chore. The story recounts the author’s early childhood growing up in Iran. Her parents are politically aware, and she is raised to be reflective, open minded and with a resoundingly enquiring mind. I have studied a bit of Iranian modern history, with a particular focus on the position of women and the impact of fundamentalist religious ideas on a liberal thinking society. Thus, I was taken from the minute I read the first page:
The opening of the text is entitled “The Veil” and the first page raised all sorts of confronting issues for me. The black and white comic strip presentation, although reminiscent of Maus, took me to a totally different place where I was forced to re-evaluate my perceptions and expectations about Islamic society and Iranian history. The absurdity of the narration and the depiction of the rhetoric regarding the wearing of the veil was riveting and I was thrilled to note that the author has presented both a comic and satirical view. The book unfolds in this manner, exploring the life of the protagonist, a girl born in 1970. We, as readers, are taking on a monumental journey through the eyes of this young girl, witnessing the brutality of the new regime and the complexity of explaining the new reality to a young child.
In short, I loved this book. I devoured it in the space of a few hours. I was mystified by the message, enthralled by the text and riveted by the flow of the story.
There is a sequel and I will certainly be reading this as well.
Buy it NOW