Now this was an amazing novel. I am always intrigued by other cultures, especially ones we have a limited view of without distortion from the media. Seraji himself moved to the United States from Iran when he was 20, shortly before his country was thrown into turmoil and the Shah was overthrown. He mentions discovering reading at age 10 reading ‘White Fang’ by Jack London. I mention it because yet again it comes home that in Iraq, Iran, in any country in the world humans are the same, but how little we know about them sometimes. Who are they? What do they wear? What do they eat? Most of all, what are they like?
In the summer of 1973 Pasha and his best friend Ahmed spend most nights on the rooftops gazing at the stars and dreaming about girls. We follow them through the alleys of Tehran while they visit friends, alternately play in the streets or get into scuffles, go to school with despotic yet hilarious teachers, and shyly get to know their crushes. This is the last carefree summer they will know though. An older respected friend of theirs is involved in revolutionary activities, and when he is taken away the entire neighborhood is changed forever.
The warm, friendly and funny Persian culture shines through this entire book as we learn how the law and regime governed their lives, but not their spirit. It is heartbreaking and poignant, those power words apply for once, about friendship, love and struggle. It is a teenager’s point of view, complete with some cussing and shenanigans, but in the end you mourn the way these boys have to grow up.
A wonderful look at a totally different culture that gives you insight into who the Persians are, and this is not just a ‘chick-lit’ sort of book despite the pink cover, I’d recommend it to anyone.