Leslie's Reviews > Reading Lolita in Tehran

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
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Aug 30, 09

bookshelves: non-fiction, book-club-books
Read in August, 2009

I am choosing not to assign any particular number of stars to this book. If I were to, I think I would be doing an injustice--I would have to rate it fairly low if strictly awarding on how I feel about the book. However, it is an important treatise on women--their lives, freedoms (and lack thereof), and treatment in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

I found the book extremely difficult to get through. The literary analysis was dry, obscure, and seemed to bog down an otherwise interesting story of the literature class, the group of students, and their trials. I found myself interested in many of the students' lives. However, when those lives are viewed through the lens of English lit, those lives became remote, dry and unintelligible. While I'm confident that the author's POV made this an incredibly interesting and powerful piece for her--and in some ways cathartic to write--it didn't draw us into her world.

Because I hadn't read all of the the literary works analyzed in the book, those portions were almost way too esoteric for me to identify with. What makes me sad however is that I now am not motivated to read many of them very soon.

All in all, the book as an exploration of women's issues is probably significant. I respect Nafisi's trials, her difficulties, and the work that she has done. She is obviously a brilliant and emotionally powerful woman. She has done incredible work to explain and work against the abuse of women's freedoms. Unfortunately, while reading the book, I found myself more likely to be wondering what was on television or checking my email than pondering the role and significance of women. Dry text, esoteric analysis and ineffective pacing made this book difficult for me to dive in and really have any lasting thoughts or feelings about the book or it's message.
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Reading Progress

08/16/2009 page 85
23.88% "Having a hard time with this one."
08/27/2009 page 120
33.71% "Although I like the idea of this one, I can't stay interested. It feels so dry and uninteresting--which I'm sure it wasn't in real life."

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