A New York–based clinical psychologist tells the moving story of the life-changing trauma she and her family suffered as a result of the Iranian Revolution of 1979.
For the first four years of her life, Andalibian grew up in the protected space of her family and the Rose Hotel, a luxury guesthouse her father ran for pilgrims on their way to the holy city of Mashhad. Everything changed in late 1978 when her father became entangled in a web of religious and political intrigue involving a woman and her two teenage rapists. The new regime of Ayatollah Khomeini promised a fresh start to what everyone believed would be a more just society. Then Iranian courts charged—and later executed—Andalibian’s oldest brother, Abdollah, for a crime he didn’t commit. To protect the family, her parents told their remaining children that he had gone to America to study; yet the lie did nothing to stop the family from moving into a dark spiral of despair. In the difficult years that followed, the Andalibians moved away from their beloved Rose Hotel. Later, a health crisis forced the author’s mother to seek medical care in London and forced a long period of separation between the author and two brothers. Even after the family reunited and then immigrated a second time to Southern California, memories of their old life in Iran and of Abdollah’s “disappearance” continued to haunt them. Her parents, especially her devout Muslim father, were adrift in a Western society they could neither entirely accept nor understand, while alcoholism, drug abuse, divorce and undiagnosed mental illness plagued their children. Through a fierce love that was often tested beyond its limits, Andalibian helped her family understand the necessity of revealing long-held secrets and accepting each other’s foibles and vulnerabilities. Only then could they finally emerge, scarred but whole, “from its shadows.”
A powerful and uplifting memoir of tragedy and healing.