THE WIND IN MY HAIR

MY FIGHT FOR FREEDOM IN MODERN IRAN

Alinejad’s account provides a timely glimpse behind the Iranian curtain.

Pointed memoir by an Iranian journalist who has been a longtime advocate of women’s rights in the Islamic republic.

Alinejad, who has largely lived in exile for years, was born in a village in northern Iran. “I couldn’t imagine a better place anywhere else in the world,” she writes of her hometown. Born two years before the ouster of the shah, the author never knew the relative freedoms women enjoyed in Iran before the revolution in a state so secular that a law was passed forbidding women from wearing the hijab. “If I was alive then,” she writes, “I’d have opposed it not because I believe in the hijab but because I believe in freedom of choice.” Such belief drew Alinejad away from her quiet home and into significant events, and she became a news reporter. “The road to expulsion is paved with scoops,” she writes. It’s the content of those scoops, along with the graft and corruption underlying a regime that is still made up of politicians, that will be of interest to readers, certainly much more than the mundane details of her life and rote observations such as, “I’d always wanted my life to be impactful.” Driven from her country, Alinejad became a vocal and highly visible critic of the Ahmadinejad regime—but more, of the entire theocracy, which put her at odds with other members of the opposition: “The reformists didn’t want to overthrow the whole regime. They just didn’t like Ahmadinejad.” Even more visibly, she went on to found a movement against the compulsory wearing of the hijab, which encountered its own difficulties when Western women and men who might have been allies were reluctant to criticize Iran for fear of being labeled as bigots. “I realized,” she writes, “I was fighting both Trump’s Islamophobia and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s misogynist policies.”

Alinejad’s account provides a timely glimpse behind the Iranian curtain.

Pub Date: June 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-54891-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

FROM MEAN STREETS TO WALL STREET

Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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