Honeymoon in Tehran: Two Years of Love and Danger in Iran

by Azadeh Moaveni

I think Moaveni captures a snapshot of two very important subjects in this book : the complicated tangle of naivete, longing, frustration, and criticism that the first generation children of immigrants feel toward a country their parents have fled, and second, the complicated ways people both acquiesce to totalitarian regimes while at the same time carving out small freedoms.

This book describes in a kind of conversation manner two years she spent living in Tehran where in she met her now-husband, and near the end, had a son.

But most of the book is actually a chronicle of the rise of Iran’s President Ahmadinejad and the effects on middle and upper class Iranians’ daily lives. Moaveni portrays herself is a tad naive as she goes about interviewing resisters in the beginning of the book, despite have to report her activities to a mysterious government man named Mr. X, she almost seems to feel that her Western upbringing makes her impervious. Part of me wondered at points if this was building to some kind of tragedy.

But the tragedy is not a singular event in this book, it is the undoing of thousands of years of Persian culture, music, and history because of a conservative few. But it is also the tragedy of how regular old people just trying to make a living, bend and change according to the arbitrary enforcement of conservative strictures such as, having a TV antenna, the color of your headscarf, whether music is allowed at a wedding, etc. And its the tragedy of a country that chases away it’s brightest and most educated populace.

An important book for people in the U.S. to read to understand a bit about Iranian politics (like why sometimes peoples’ small freedoms increase under a more conservative regime) and the reality of living under totalitarianist regime.