Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Book Review Club (June 2011)

Welcome to our June meeting of The Book Review Club. Perhaps you are clutching a bouquet of sweet peas or wearing a string of pearls or pearl-studded cuff links because . . . this is our 30th meeting!! Squee! Good for us, keeping this little book review club going despite life's many and varied obstacles! Again this month, we bring you great reviews of all manner of books. So, please continue scrolling after my review for the links to all the other marvelous reviewers!


THE GOOD DAUGHTER: A MEMOIR OF MY MOTHER'S HIDDEN LIFE by Jasmin Darznik

When Jasmin Darznik is in her twenties, her father dies. In the process of helping her widowed mother, Lili, downsize, Jasmin discovers a photo of her mother, aged 13, dressed in Iranian wedding clothes. In the photo, Lili stands next to a groom and looks as though she's about to burst into tears. Jasmin confronts her mother who refuses to speak about this secret part of her past. Eventually, Lili sends audio cassettes, one at a time, to her daughter. The audio cassettes describe Lili's past, a past with an abusive marriage, a daughter born when Lili was 14, a divorce at 15, and the forced abandonment of her child as per Islamic law.

Each chapter of THE GOOD DAUGHTER begins with passages spoken by Lili on the tapes. This book is written in beautiful, lyrical language with a generous sprinkling of Iranian terms. Lili's is an uplifting story. She is a brave, resourceful woman who left an arranged marriage, moved to Germany to study midwifery, married a German engineer, then returned to Iran to help its women.

I'm happy to recommend THE GOOD DAUGHTER by Jasmin Darznik.

And, now, onto our amazing reviews. Click away!


MIDDLE GRADE/YOUNG ADULT BOOK REVIEWS

Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: THE GOOD MASTER by Kate Seredy (middle grade, a Newbery Honor back in 1935)

Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving: FOURTH GRADE FAIRY by Eileen Cook (middle grade)

Kaye of the Road Goes Ever Ever On: THREE CUPS OF TEA by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin (Young Reader's Edition)

Sarah Laurence: WHAT CANT WAIT by Ashley Hope Perez (young adult, review + interview)

Keri Mikulski: TWENTY BOY SUMMER by Sarah Ockler (young adult)

Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: THE LIAR SOCIETY by Lisa and Laura Roecker (young adult, mystery)

Beth Yarnall: THE OPPOSITE OF INVISIBLE by Liz Gallagher (young adult)

ADULT BOOK REVIEWS

Scott Parker: GHOSTS OF MANHATTAN by George Mann (science fiction)

Staci of Life in the Thumb: CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER by Tom Franklin (literary)

Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: THE GALLOWS BIRD by Camilla Lackberg (mystery)

Linda McLaughlin: A FIERCE RADIANCE by Lauren Belfer (historical)

Lindi Lamont: THE SURGEON'S LADY by Carla Kelly (Regence Romance)

Stacy of The Cat's Meow: CALEB'S CROSSING by Geraldine Brooks (historical)

NONFICTION REVIEWS

Patti Abbott: A WIDOW'S STORY by Joyce Carol Oates

Sarahlynn of Yeah, but Houdini didn't have these hips: ASSASSINATION VACATION by Sarah Vowell

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!


15 comments:

Jenn Jilks said...

Great review choice, Barrie.
I used such books when teaching. Many of my students in Ottawa were from various ethnic groups and this type of book really helped me understand them. Plus, they provide a fabulous role model.

Keri Mikulski said...

Sounds like a beautiful book. Thanks for the recommendation. Happy Wednesday! :)

Barrie said...

Jenn, this book really does give you a great sense of Iran pre-Islamic Revolution.

Keri, I think you'd like it. And Happy Wednesday back at you!

Sarahlynn said...

As a reluctant student of history, I learn so much of what I need to know from well-written/researched fiction. I think I'd love this book, and learn a lot from it to supplement to fascinating glimpses of life in Iran I saw in The Complete Persepolis.

Barrie said...

Sarahlynn, I picked up quite a bit--both history and culture.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Barrie, this sounds like a really interesting memoir. I've read other books by women from countries like Iran and Afghanistan and I always learn so much. I loved PERSEPOLIS, also LIPSTICK JIHAD (Iran) & MY FORBIDDEN FACE (Afghanistan under the Taliban).

Linda / Lyndi

kaye said...

this book sounds so good, I like the way you've described the set-up for the chapters.

Stacy said...

Sounds like an intense read - in a good way!

Ellen Booraem said...

Barrie, that book sounds fascinating! And I love the "back story"--amazing that Lili kept her other life secret for so long. What a remarkable woman she must be.

Sarah Laurence said...

What an interesting book! I can't imagine living with a secret like that or uncovering that as a daughter. Thanks for hosting!

Alyssa Goodnight said...

As usual, thanks for arranging our little get together!

This book sounds interesting...and I love lyrical language. :)
Thanks for the review!

Ellen Booraem said...

Hey Barrie...please tell stacey I tried to commment on Cat's Meow but Google sent me on an endless log-in loop when I tried to use my account to comment. On your blog, I'm all logged in, no muss, no fuss. Weird.

Stacy said...

To Ellen re The Cat's Meow: You're not the only one. Alyssa and I can't comment there either, and it's my own blog! Not sure what's going on with Blogger these days. It was so well behaved for a while.

Thanks for stopping by though.

abagayle said...

Very interesting,i could of swore my mom's read it before.
Sorry i posted this late,my sister and I stayed up until 3:00 in the morning baking a cake for our neighbors!Talk about sleepy(:

Thanks,
AbaGayle

LynNerd said...

OMG, the poor 13-year-old girl having to deal with that. Heartbreaking. Sounds like a wonderful book, though, because she overcame it, but having to give up her child? That's pretty heavy stuff. Imagine finding out your mother had to live through that. Sheesh!