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

coverLipstick Jihad : A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America and American in Iran — By Azadeh Moaveni

Azadeh Moaveni grew up in San Jose, California, the daughter of Iranian exiles. As with most children of immigrants, she feels sometimes feels torn between two worlds, the American world of her classmates, and the Iranian world of her divorced parents and large extended family. She has strong memories of a summer spent visiting relatives in Tehran, and in college she develops a strong interest in her Iranian heritage. She becomes a reporter for Time magazine, and, after a stint in Cairo, she is assigned to work in Tehran.

This personal memoir describes her life in Tehran between 2000 and 2002, a life that is confusing, complicated and fascinating. In many ways, she finds herself an outsider in Tehran, but she’s surrounded by family, friends and colleagues, and she makes a strange but not altogether unrewarding life for herself.

Moaveni recounts her own adventures here in a personal, chatty, irreverent style that will amuse some readers and annoy others. Her chapter titles, for example, include “I’m too sexy for my veil” and “Not without my mimosa.” This book is as youthful, outrageous, funny, honest, brave and flawed as its author.

This book is being compared to other recent books on women in Iran, but the book that it most reminda me of is not about Iran or the Middle East, but China– Red China Blues: My Life from Mao to Now, by another journalist, Jan Wong. That’s actually a much better book, by a much older writer describing a much longer period of her life.

Interview with the Azadeh Moaveni — Mother Jones, March, 2005

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