Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran

Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran

Roya has grown up in an intellectually stimulating household; her father is a distinguished poet. Life is good for the Hakakians in 1979,when the Shah is deposed and the fundamentalist Ayatollah Khomeini assumes control of Iran. The idealistic 12-year-old joins those who cheer Khomeini's return, but her joy is short-lived. Her family, members of the small Jewish community in Teheran, feel the increasing intolerance. Young Roya relates the bewilderment she experienced when she saw a swastika painted on a wall not far from her home, which she describes as “a plus sign gone awry, a dark reptile with four hungry claws.” However, things become even more intolerable. Friends alleged to have read "blasphemous" books were taken away under guard and never seen again. A separate campaign appears to be directed against women, who are becoming more and more restricted. As Jews become special targets--to the point of being required to use separate rest rooms and drinking fountains--many choose to leave. The reader will cheer when the Hakakian family finally, in 1984, also makes the decision to emigrate. The author paints a sensitive, occasionally humorous, at times sad, always moving portrait of what it was like to live in--and leave--Iran during those turbulent years. 256 pages. Ages 15 up
Recommended by Barbara Karp, Librarian.

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