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Bone Worship

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  376 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Jasmine Fahroodhi has always been fascinated by her enigmatic Iranian father. With his strange habits and shrouded past, she can't fathom how he ended up marrying her prim American mother.

But lately love in general feels just as incomprehensible. After a disastrous romance sends her into a tailspin, causing her to fail out of college just shy of graduation, a conflicted Ja
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 15th 2010 by Pegasus Books (first published 2010)
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Average rating 3.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  376 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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Elizabeth Eslami
Aug 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Then again, I might be biased.
Sep 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm honestly surprised this book isn't more popular than it currently is.

This book was a random find at a half price bookstore. That usually means:

1. The book will be terribly awful and I will want to get rid of it as soon as possible.
2. The book is absolutely amazing and I will keep it.

It's a pretty simple world when it comes to used books.

Obviously by my 5-star rating, this book was an incredible find. The book description doesn't do it justice. This book tackles complex topics like:

-Why do yo
Oct 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Struggling to finish this. Keep checking that this isn`t catalogued under Young Adult - the protagonist`s flaws, rather than coming across as complexity, make her seem spoiled and selfish. Her decisions, and motivations for the decisions that she makes in the book, are more suited to the mentality of a 14-16 year old rather than a 21 year old college dropout. The book had so much promise, tackling subject matter in a way that is rarely done (a positive spin on arranged marriage from an immigrant ...more
Catherine Knight
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
I actually skimmed quite a bit of this because I found the format to be a bit distracting and disjointed. Bouncing between Jasmine's reality and the stories she's created to fill in the gaps of what she does not know about her father was confusing to me. I had a hard time discerning when the stories of Jasmine's father were stories he had actually told her and what were conjecture. Add to that the strange relationship of her parents, and the relationship she has with her parents which felt odd a ...more
Lyle Dechant
Aug 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
What I like best here is the twist on the classic theme of cultural and generational conflict. Stories of children torn between two cultures are (for me) always intrinsically captivating, but this book poses the question somewhat differently. Jasmine, the daughter of an Iranian immigrant and his American wife, sees little reason to commit to school or life in general when her parents have resolved to chart her life for her. But just as she begins to wonder why her father has kept his heritage se ...more
You know how in dreams, you step off of your front porch and suddenly you're in an airplane? And it kind of makes sense, but it's still in its own way confusing, because the fact that the dream keeps constantly shifting means you can't ever predict what's going to happen or use previous parts of the dream to inform what you're doing now? That was how I felt with this novel.

It's a sort of coming-of-age story, with an Iranian twist of a father who wants to arrange a marriage for his flunked-out-of
Jan 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that I've known this author since we were fourteen years old. I should also tell you that I read this book twice in manuscript form, and that did not deter me one second from devouring it whole once it was published. Bone Worship is at once heartbreaking and hilarious. Parents and child sling barbs, trade snark, but at their core, there is love - that deep love that parents and children cannot help but have for one another, despite failing ea ...more
Oct 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: u-s-immigrants
The daughter of an Iranian immigrant father and American mother, Jasmine returns home to small town Georgia after failing out of college. her father decides an arranged marriage will resolve the situation and sets about finding a suitable match. Jasmine attempts to come to some understanding of her emotionally distant parents and her own identity while wondering if they just might be right about the relative brevity of romantic love. A lovely story that illuminates some of the struggles and conf ...more
Feb 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010
"it wasn't my taste, but i respect the effort." i felt a little bog-dense reading this; i wish i'd picked up earlier that the protagonist was merely imagining these stories of her father's life. i probably should have figured it out faster, since the father is a strangely silent character. i enjoyed the zoo scenes, but i found a strange sense of detachment in the protagonist's relationships to the people in her life; especially since she always called him "dr. ahmadi" through the end of the book ...more
K. Lincoln
Jul 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Jasmine is going home to her parents' house after failing out of the last year of college.

Her American mother is obsessed with clothes and perfume, and her Iranian father is obsessed with finding Jasmine a husband so she'll be "taken care of."

Jasmine is just obsessed with herself, and her father's history as a means to understanding how her father treats people and ultimately what she wants to be.

Bone Worship has two noteworthy elements for me; a protagonist who is snarky, defaces library books,
This fits into my category of books that I finished but that disappointed me. The subject matter definitely appealed to me, but I found the story lacking.

Jasmine is a bright young college drop-out. She leaves the University of Chicago to go home to live with her parents in Georgia. Her distant, Iranian father and her prim American mother determine that they should arrange a marriage for her.

Jasmine's life is aimless. She appears to be directionless because of not really knowing or understanding
Jul 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book about an American/Irani woman, who after failing the last semester of college, comes home to her parents in Arrowood, GA. He father, an Iranian born doctor feels that if she didn't get her degree and has no plans, it is time for her to get married and tries to arrange a marriage for her.

While her life is going nowhere, her father advertises in Arabic papers and websites for her suitable mate. A parade of men comes to dinner at her house, but she is not at all interested. Af
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Bone Worship follows Jasmine, a college dropout whose parents are determined to find a husband for her. She has no intention of going through with this arrangement, but begrudgingly she goes along with it almost as an experiment—to prove her parents wrong. She retreats into books, finds a job at the zoo doing poop ‘n scoop, and sabotages her father’s attempts to find a mate for her. She envies her brother, Uri, an adventurer who escapes home, but unlike him she is drawn to her remote Iranian fat ...more
May 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
This first novel by Iranian-American author Eslami started slow for me. We kept changing scenes, moving between past and present, and nothing seemed to be happening. However, it’s one of those books that sneak up on you and suddenly you don’t want to stop reading. In the end, you find yourself in tears, saying, “this is so beautiful.” It’s layered, it’s full of insights about Iranian culture, and the characters are so real you want to hug them all. Protagonist Jasmine Fahroodi has just finished ...more
Aug 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 14, 2011 rated it liked it
What happens when you fail out of university, then arrive home only to have your parents advocate for an arranged marriage? That's exactly what happens to Jasmine, daughter to an Iranian father and American mother living in Georgia.

As I read this book, I found myself at times annoyed and at others curious--but throughout, I found I wanted to keep reading. And it wasn't until I was nearly finished with the book that I realized why I liked it: Jasmine's story reminded me of Barbara Kingsolver's A
Mar 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth Eslami took me by the hand and led me into a fascinating, well written story that was a fresh and surprising combination of two themes -- familial dysfunction and cultural clashes. There is much to admire about the way in which Eslami created both desperation and wit within the personality of Jasmine, a young Iranian-American woman who, in so many ways, was rudderless.

Jasmine's longing to know her emotionally distant father, her confusion and pain over his expectations -vs- her own des
Aug 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: loved-it
I picked this up because the inside cover sounded interesting but I really wasn't expecting much, however it was a pleasantly surprising read. It's the story of Jasmine, a half America/half Iranian college drop out who comes home to take some time off before getting on with the rest of her life. Her father Yusef has always been a mystery to her, and becomes even more of a mystery when he begins setting her up with blind dates so he can put together an arranged marriage for her like is customary ...more
Dec 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Have you ever read a book where you completely and totally hated the protagonist but could not stop reading it? I hated Jasmine. Absolutely loathed her. She was whiny, childish, and the things she did, did not make logical sense. Her hangups about life were juvenile. I felt like Mr. Farhoodi, who had the potential to be a great character, was not as three-dimensional as he could have been.

The only reason this book gets two stars is because of Eslami's story telling - such as the story about the
Mar 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth Eslami draws me into the conflicts and tension of trying to live in two worlds. I knew Bone Worship was as term elephant behaviorists used to describe how elephants remembered one of their tribe long after death. I adored the craft Eslami displayed tracing the bones of each of her characters. Her story is compelling, and she performs that rare service: allows you to view a world you most likely would never understand, but do once you finished the novel.

Family, loyalty, love, haunting p
Apr 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-hold
Read this book. I don't really know what to say except that I had no expectations for this, just needed to read something that wasn't fantasy and this was on the new release shelves at the library. It caught my eye, I read the blurb, and tried it. There is some real humor in here and some beautifully crafted language that I couldn't help but quote here. It was funny, real, sad, somewhat in the way that movies like "Little Miss Sunshine" or "Win-Win" are. It's very tender and slow but graceful an ...more
Angie Never
Sep 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, iran, marriage, zoo
This book kept me constantly surprised. I was especially delighted with the anecdotes about animals behavior and the sections about working a zoo, which I didn't predict when I selected the book. I was also surprised to feel that I sympathized with the narrator's parents much more than I understood her. I often felt like, Will you shut up for minute? Your mom is trying to say something important! ...more
Michele Hush
Nov 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Bone Worship centers on a young woman, Jasmine Fahroodhi, who has self-sabotaged her way out of college at the moment when she returns home to her American mother and brusque, difficult-to-know Iranian father. It is a story of rebellion and tradition, including the tradition of arranged marriage; most of all of it is a story of discovery of self, strength and family. Eslami is an exceptionally graceful writer. This is her first novel. I look forward to more.
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
I liked the story being told, however I think that it was poorly written. The flash-backs about stories her father had told her were kind of just thrown in there all over the place without any real transition from what was actually going on at the time, and though they gave some background on her father, after a while they were just boring and didn't seem to have anything to do with where the story was at. ...more
May 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Simply put, I really loved this novel. The main character, Jasmine, isn't lovable in the traditional way per se, but I CARED about her. I wanted to know where life was taking her ...and to hear how she arrived at wherever it was she wound up. Every character piqued my curiosity. My only wish is that I was able to learn more. This gem is prime for a sequel! ...more
Anita Oz
Jun 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
An interesting and different book about an Iranian/American girl growing up with a very strange Father. As we learn about her peculiar life, she eventually finds love in an arranged marriage. A bizarre central character that you grow to really like. Well written, funny at times and a unique insight to a mixed heritage family.
Jul 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
The author had some interesting things going on, but they never coalesced. In fact, I think there was too much. Rather than focus on a story, the author focuses on a life and all the separate stories that are a part of one life. As a result the book had little direction and I never really cared about the character.
MaryannC. Book Freak
Sorry I dont want to tear down an author's hard work, but I just wasnt feeling this book. Jasmin F. came across as whiny and rude, and the cultural difference thing with the parents just wasnt believable the way it was written. I didnt feel anything for the character except annoyed and I didnt finish the book. ...more
Jane Hammons
Mar 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Interesting characters and setting, I especially appreciated the layered structure of the book--stories within stories, mingling past and present--and also the way it does not easily resolve the problems related to definitions of success and ideas about arranged marriage.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellently penned, with the writing, at times, timed like a symphony. Though the book does has some sudden delves into odd directions, it doesn't take anything away from the story. Definitely one of the best books I've read this year. ...more
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Elizabeth Eslami is the author of the story collection, Hibernate, for which she was awarded the 2013 Ohio State University Prize in Short Fiction, and the novel Bone Worship (Pegasus, 2010). Her essays, short stories, and travel writing have appeared most recently in The Sun and Witness, and her work is featured in the anthologies Tremors: New Fiction By Iranian American Writers and Writing Off S ...more

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