Jun 11, 2013

Book Review: The Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines by Shohreh Aghdashloo



Title: The Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines by Shohreh Aghdashloo
Published June 4, 2013; Harper
Genre: memoir

About the book: Shohreh has decided to leave Iran, her parents, and her husband, the painter Aydin, because of her outspoken political beliefs and her involvement in western-style theater as an aspiring actress. Aydin agrees with her decision to leave and breaks the news to his parents.

"But why are you doing this?" she kept asking.
"Believe me, Mom, it's best for everybody," he said.
She turned to me and asked, "Do you not love Aydin?"
I was stunned. "Yes, I do love him. That is why I am doing this. I don't want him to get into trouble over me." .... 
At 4:30 a.m., February 28, 1979, I left Iran. Like thousands of other Iranians departing the country every day, I, too thought that I would return after the turmoil had ceased, possibly in only a few weeks. Surely I'd be home again. (ch. 19)
My comments: This is quite a moving account of the life of the young actress from Tehran who left her home for Europe and eventually came to the U.S. after the fall of the last Shah of Iran and the beginning of the Islamic Republic.

In America, she eventually remarries and continues her career as an actress in Iranian plays written by her second husband, the playwright Houshang. She then breaks into the Hollywood circle, leading up to her nomination for an Academy Award as supporting actress in The House of Sand and Fog. She later received an Emmy Award.in 2009 for her supporting role as Saddam's wife in the film, House of Saddam..

We see Shohreh as a passionate young woman who takes risks for what she loves and succeeds through sheer will power and determination. This is an inspiring book for immigrants and for those who  leave their countries during political upheavals. Granted Shohreh comes from a well-to-do family, but there are times in her self-exile when she struggled to support herself and her driving desire to continue acting.

She remembers her home country in the title of the book, which refers to the alley with yellow flowers near her home where she used to walk.

A well written and very detailed account of Shohreh's life before and after leaving Iran, her eventual success in the U.S., and her reunions with her mother and brothers.  

About the author:
Shohreh Aghdashloo won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress for HBO’s House of Saddam and was the first Iranian actress ever to be nominated for an Academy Award, for her role in House of Sand and Fog. She has starred in the Fox series 24 and has been featured in a number of television shows and films. Born and raised in Tehran, she now lives in Los Angeles.
For other reviews, visit the tour schedule by TLC Book Tours 
Linked to Cym Lowell's Book Review Link-Up Party 
Thanks to the publsher and TLC Book Tours for a review galley of the book.  

13 comments:

Harvee @ Book Dilettante said...

Wish I had a picture of that alley with yellow jasmines...

Suko said...

This sounds like a touching memoir, Harvee. I didn't realize this actress was the first Iranian actress to be nominated for an Academy Award. I now want to see The House of Sand and Fog.

Brian Joseph said...

I have heard interviews from several folks who fled Iran under similar circumstances. Political upheaval and repressive regimes cause so much pain and dislocation.

Mason Canyon said...

I have enjoyed watching this actress play in a number of TV roles (such as 24). Her book sounds fascinating.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Harvee @ Book Dilettante said...

I have to see that movie too, Suko.

Harvee @ Book Dilettante said...

I am sure I've seen her on TV...

Harvee @ Book Dilettante said...

I met students from Iran before the revolution. Some were good friends.

Meg @ A Bookish Affair said...

Oh, I hadn't heard of this book before but it seems like something I would love!

Harvee @ Book Dilettante said...

Just published June 4, Meg.

Vicki said...

Wow, I didn't know her history! Sounds like an interesting book!

Harvee @ Book Dilettante said...

Hope you get to read it sometime, Vicki.

heathertlc said...

Sounds like a fascinating read! Thanks for being on the tour.

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

This one didn't work for me :( I wonder if I would have liked it better if I was reading it bc I was familiar with the author; I read it with expectations similar to The Kite Runner.

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