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LIPSTICK JIHAD [Book Review]

Book Review:

The book titled Lipstick Jihad: A memoir of growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran”, is written by Azadeh Moaveni’s. The respective writing was her first book illustrating and narrating her own journey from the United States of America to Iran. The book shows two different living styles in two regions of the world. The author gets the chance to experience living in an Islamic Middle Eastern Country after living her whole life in the western world (specifically The United States of America). Through this, she got a chance to enjoy both liberal and conservative cultural living ending up to her searching for her identity.

The story is about a daughter of Iranian immigrants who got settled in a region named California situated in the United States of America. The story starts when after working in an American Time magazine as a reporter, she got a chance to visit Iran after several years of her life. But she faced a new face of Iranian population that amazed her at every point. A contrasting population is found in Iran where two group of people were witnessed fighting against each other mainly. The mullahs were the revolutionists in one hand who emerged as a result of Islamic Revolution of 1979, whereas the new generation of the century was the other group on the other hand that wanted to live a life of freedom and comparative liberal values. But there was a struggle going on among the two on the traditions and culture of them. The point of argument was on the cultural and traditional basis making them stand as a rebellion against each other. Such situation in Iranian made Azadeh Moaveni realize that people everywhere in the world are no different and are leading toward the same ground in spite of the differences of their culture and location. She regarded the people “displace” including herself and realized in the end that she belonged to both the western and the eastern world having traits of both the regions in her.

For me, after having a thorough study of the book, the category or the genre of the writing titled, “Lipstick Jihad: A memoir of growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran” is a memoir. The facts and figures laid down in the writing are explaining the experiences and the events that Azadeh Moaveni faced during her visit to Iran. Each and every moment mentioned in the book was creating a true image of Iran and the happenings over there. The book was written after the journalist’s experience in her native-born homeland after living throughout her life in the United States of America and after observing the changes in an eastern Islamic country (that had been disturbed internally because of internal and external invasion) and a western liberal State living life without any tension or irregularity in their minds about the situation of their living land.

I think writing is a beautiful description of the cultures and tensions present in the two states of the world. The part of the book showing her experience in Iran was the best for me as the small details of the two cultures were explained using daily life examples by Moaveni. The whole writing was very clear and there was found no hesitation element present in it making the writing more attractive for the readers. Tastes, clothing, hobbies, social life, public relations, and private attributes, hence every little detail of the living styles of people are mentioned very openly by Moaveni, making her a very confident personality in accordance to my eyes.

The book is a lively and energetic writing reflecting the thoughts and personality of the writer of the book. The image perceived by me of Moaveni is that she is very clear, confident and have the courage to speak out what she feels, making the woman an independent successful woman of the time. Furthermore, she is shown as a female icon that belonged to the Iranian world and origin but as her parents migrated to California since a long time, she was a mixture of the two cultures of Iran and the United States of America. The author was very affected by her experience in Iran and wanted to share the differences she found among the two regions as e.g. of ‘class division’, ‘evasiveness of Iran’ etc. The experience in Moaveni moved her and told her the real perspective of the people of Iran about America and thus the book is the reflection of that perspective which he wanted to highlight to the audience.

I think the perspective of people shown in the book about their concern and thirst for freedom from the Mullahs is restricted to a specific class or generation of the society. Although the people living in Iran have certain feelings and want to get freedom from extremism the whole population is not having such thoughts. Other than these two groups of Mullahs and the rebellion new generation, there are present people there who lie in between the two categories.

The book narrates the situation in Iran and religion and politics are underlined, showing a deep understanding of the ongoing of life in Iran in a critical and humorous style of writing. However, her belongingness to anyone state among the two is still left a question making her part of the two cultures which for me is a little ambiguous and non-acceptable as for me she belonged to the western world completely and just has the birth or parental relation with Iran.

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