It took me a few chapters to get into "Reading Lolita". I thought it was going to be a strict memoir, and when she digressed into these elaborate dissertations on (especially Lolita), I found myself getting bored. Now, I'm not one to ever eschew an intellectual conversation or debate on anything, but I really wanted to hear about the girls and their lives and Azar Nafisi's life in this horrible theocratic regime. I also wanted to know how they managed to get away with reading such blasphemous stuff. When Azar Nafisi talked of these things, I couldn't put the book down, but when she started on her diatribes and nuanced descriptions of "Lolita", Nabokov, Fitzgerald and Austen, I found my mind wandering. I suppose if I had picked up a book entitled, "The In-Depth Analysis of Vladimir Nabokov and Lolita", I wouldn't have felt that way, but as you know, this isn't that book. As the book progressed, I really did have affection for some of the characters, and I truly felt scared for them and hoped that this book didn't have a horrible ending like all the women getting executed. Luckily, we didn't have to deal with that, but I wish Azar Nafisi would write a book just talking about the lives and feelings and situations of young women in Iran, so that people in the United States can really figure out what's going on over there. Unfortunately, I believe that would be hard for Nafisi to do. She is definitely an intellectual, and I think her interest lies in absolutely dissecting fiction in a way that no one else is really interested in.
Finally, I do believe this book is worth reading. I learned some things about what was going on when the Ayatollah was in power, things I didn't realize and I did find myself sort of missing "the girls" after reading the last page and closing the book.
This is not a badly written book. I kept losing interest in it - Anyone over the age of 30 is aware of the oppression that women in Iran suffered upon the Revolution. The problem I had with it is that in order to fully comprehend this story, the literature discussed in this memoir should be fresh in the reader's head. Unfortunately, I haven't read stories such as The Great Gatsby or Lolita in years, and didn't want to reread these stories solely for the sake of Nafisi's book.
I was really looking forward to reading this book, but when I started I found it somewhat boring. I have never read Lolita, so I guess this started me off on the wrong foot. I wanted to read more about the women and their lives in Iran than the discussions in their bookclub. I am posting this book but will try to finish before it goes.
I tried very hard to read this book. I usually read a minimum of 50 pages before deciding I don't like a book. I gave this book about 100 pages and still couldn't find it worth my time. It was a big disappointment to me as I was anxious to learn more about the women and the challenges they faced. Instead, for my tastes, too much of the book was being devoted to a critique of the books the women in the group read. I wanted to read more about the women and less about the books.
I left this book with a renewed sense of strength and an amplified connection to the collective of women on our planet. How these goddesses of Iran deal with such oppression is something every woman and man should appreciate. Though it may not be fraught with "action" as some may want, I found this book to be an impossible to put down read...stick with it if you are having trouble beeing pulled in. The empathy will pour out of you as you read, especially for those with open hearts & minds.