**This review is part of the Amazon Vine Program**
I haven't read too many books that take place in Iran. Countries near
there, yes, but not Iran. So this was an interesting look at the
country for me, especially with all the changes it has had over the past
couple of decades. And this is fiction, but it is told in a way that
makes you believe it could happen in real life.
Saba and her
sister Mahtab are twins. Born to wealthy Iranian parents they are split
up in the middle of their childhood. Saba remembers it as her mother
and Mahtab leaving for America without her and her father. But everyone
else tells her that her mother is gone and Mahtab is dead. She's not
sure what to believe because her memories so clearly tell her otherwise.
With this pain of being left behind, and with the strict rules in
Iran, Saba has to make choices about her own future, and what life she
can lead in Iran. Her connections with her friends offer her some
respite, but call her other troubles, especially when one of her friends
becomes interested in a revolutionary women's group in the area.
have to pity Saba. Even if she is the spoiled rich girl, she goes
through things that no-one should have to go through. And she isn't
given the freedom of making many choices that are in her best interest.
She has to sacrifice to get to those choices. Which is something that
many of us are fortunate not to have experience with. Since we only
know of Mahtab through Saba's tales, I think she is idolized a bit.
She's the expression of everything Saba desires and I actually didn't
like her because of it. Saba's friends, while good for her in some
ways, also bring her down in others, and I wasn't a big fan of them
either. I just wanted to root for someone in this novel, and even
though I could to an extent for Saba, there wasn't any character
satisfying to really put your hopes behind.
While this book did
drag in parts, I found it engaging. When you got past the stories of
Mahtab, Saba's world was so descriptive that you really felt immersed in
the culture. Even day to day village life had some meaning behind it.
Combine that with the restrictions on women, the underground groups of
revolution and Christianity, and it made for a complex novel. But there
were some brutal things. Saba herself is brutalized at one point (with
no real reason given, which makes it even worse) and her friend is also
brutalized (with a reason given but one that will make you scream in
frustration). It's hard stuff to read. And the whole book is sad and
I think that this book was well written and well
worth reading. But I do wish I could have had a character to believe
in, because as interesting as Saba was (and in some ways she could
inspire), she was also broken and sad and unapproachable.
A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea