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Everything Sad Is Untrue

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The story of a boy who flees Iran as a small child, detours through a refugee camp in Italy, then winds up in middle school in Oklahoma, where he is met with both curiosity and suspicion.


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The story of a boy who flees Iran as a small child, detours through a refugee camp in Italy, then winds up in middle school in Oklahoma, where he is met with both curiosity and suspicion.

30 review for Everything Sad Is Untrue

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    I sometimes listen to audiobooks when I am exercising or running . So if you recently saw me with my hands covering my face as I was working out, it wasn't to wipe the sweat from my eyes. It's because I was weeping while listening to this book and needed to get it together before going back to my run. This is the best book I've read in a long time. It may be because I have never read a book that so accurately described my own life. It may also be because Nayeri is a phenomenal writer or because I sometimes listen to audiobooks when I am exercising or running . So if you recently saw me with my hands covering my face as I was working out, it wasn't to wipe the sweat from my eyes. It's because I was weeping while listening to this book and needed to get it together before going back to my run. This is the best book I've read in a long time. It may be because I have never read a book that so accurately described my own life. It may also be because Nayeri is a phenomenal writer or because there is so much raw emotion in this book. It's supposed. to be YA and that is a genre I generally avoid because I find it cheesy--this was the opposite. I don't usually cry while running.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    I was fortunate enough to pick up four Levine Querido arcs at ALA in January. FOUR. Truth: I was only supposed to take one, but I kept chatting with the rep there, and we'd talk about this book and that one, and he could tell I was so sincerely excited that he'd say, "Okay, here, take this one too ..." and so I did. This is the second one I've read, and while it's an unrealistic commitment for a school librarian who's got to stay on top of every genre and every reading level to say that I'm goin I was fortunate enough to pick up four Levine Querido arcs at ALA in January. FOUR. Truth: I was only supposed to take one, but I kept chatting with the rep there, and we'd talk about this book and that one, and he could tell I was so sincerely excited that he'd say, "Okay, here, take this one too ..." and so I did. This is the second one I've read, and while it's an unrealistic commitment for a school librarian who's got to stay on top of every genre and every reading level to say that I'm going to read EVERYTHING Levine Querido publishes, I'm going to say that I will be paying very close attention to all of their releases and will read many of them. I run a book club at my school. At the beginning of every year, I'll ask the kids what books they like to read, and I usually get answers like, "Mysteries," "books that keep me turning pages," or "anything with lots of action." But one year, a girl said--a 12-year-old--"I like books that make me think about things in a new way." I wanted to hug her, because, YES. I like a lot of books, but the ones I LOVE, the ones that are the reason reading is both my vocation and my avocation, are the ones that *make me think about things in a new way*. And after reading two Levine Querido books (the other one was Apple: Skin to the Core, by the phenomenal Eric Gansworth), and knowing what they have on the horizon, I feel like ... those are the kind of books they are publishing. On to Everything Sad is Untrue. This was not a fast, easy read for me, so I suspect it will not be fast and easy for many middle schoolers, the audience for whom this book is intended, and to whom, as a school librarian, I need to "sell" it. But, most things that offer a rich reward take a bit of effort. And the best rewards don't just come at the end; you reap them throughout the whole process of earning them. If you're preparing for a marathon, the joy isn't just, or even mostly, about crossing the finish line, it's about the training--looking back on it, you realize that even when you were sweating, and felt like maybe you'd rather just be sitting on the couch eating a cookie, you were really having the time of your life. (Full disclosure: I've never even run a 5K, so I'm guessing here.) I have to say I'm not sure how this metaphor will work to sell this book to my middle schoolers. What might work, however, is poop. There's a LOT of poop in this book, and if there's one thing middle schoolers love, it's a good poop story. Be patient, I'll tell them, and you'll be rewarded with SO MUCH POOP. (And also a fair amount of blood, which is also popular among the pre- and young teen crowd.) So this is the story of Daniel, an Oklahoma immigrant from Iran by way of a palace in Abu Dhabi and an Italian refugee camp, but it is also the story of Scheherazade, which also means it is a story about stories. (Daniel, by the way, is the same Daniel who wrote the book, so this story is as true as a book gleaned from the memories of a child can be, which could begat a really interesting conversation or dissertation about memoir, trauma, truth, and fact.) Daniel, as narrator, puts himself in the role of Scheherazade, teller of tales, and puts the reader in the role of the King. "Every story," writes Nayari, "is the sound of a storyteller begging to stay alive." Daniel tells his stories to his classmates, and his stories of ancient Persia and his own early life in Iran are equally fantastical and unbelievable to them--tales of carpets made of emeralds and rubies, and stories of elegantly appointed bathrooms featuring bowls you squat over instead of toilets. The cover of the book is gorgeous, featuring an Oklahoma cylone with the swirling colors of a gorgeous Persian rug. Objects from the novel, such as Daniel's grandfather's prize bull and an Aladdin-like palace, spin around inside it. The cyclone is not only emblamatic of Oklahoma and Persia but of Nayeri's narrative style, which circles around, considering and then reconsidering the same stories and themes. Towards the end of the novel, Daniel's teacher, Mrs. Miller--whom he loves--tells him he has "lost the plot," and he replies she is "beholden to a Western mode of storytelling that I do not accept." She laughs, and Western readers, much like Mrs. Miller, will, at this point, be all in for the remainder of what to them feels like a very strange ride indeed. I loved this book for so many reasons. I loved learning about Persian culture. I loved reading a book in this (for me) unusual, swirling, cyclone-like style. I loved the gorgeous writing. I loved Daniel, his humor, his humility, his vulnerability, his compassion, his recognition and acceptance of the flaws in himself and in others. I love that I feel like I have a new friend. I love, as my student once said, that this book has given me the gift of thinking about things in a new way. I'll end with one of my favorite quotes from the book (and I have many), in which the narrator directly addresses the reader and discusses the interaction between the reader and an author: "What you're doing now is listening to me, in the parlor of your mind, but also speaking to yourself, thinking about the parts of me you like or the parts of me that aren't funny enough. You evaluate, like Mrs. Miller says. You think and wrestle with every word." This is a book in which every word is well worth thinking and wrestling with.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    sometimes I think about the Booklist review for this book, "Nayeri challenges outright what young readers can handle, in form and content, but who can deny him when it’s his own experience on display? He demands much of readers, but in return he gives them everything." and then I shed a tear !

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    "Mrs. Miller says I have 'lost the plot,' and am now just making lists of things that happened to fill space. But I replied that she is beholden to a Western mode of storytelling that I do not accept and that the 1,001 Nights are basically Scheherazade stalling for time, so I don't see the difference. "She laughed when I said this. "It was one of those genuine laughs you get and for a second you see the person they are when they're not a teacher. Like the same laugh she might have at a movie or so "Mrs. Miller says I have 'lost the plot,' and am now just making lists of things that happened to fill space. But I replied that she is beholden to a Western mode of storytelling that I do not accept and that the 1,001 Nights are basically Scheherazade stalling for time, so I don't see the difference. "She laughed when I said this. "It was one of those genuine laughs you get and for a second you see the person they are when they're not a teacher. Like the same laugh she might have at a movie or something. She said, 'That was a wonderful use of beholden.' "And I said, 'Thank you.'" This exchange between 12-year-old-Iranian-refugee-turned-American-citizen (in Oklahoma, yet!) Khosrou and his teacher on p. 300 of a 351 page book about says it all. There are definite YA tropes here, most noticeably the hero getting teased / bullied / taunted / beat up / questioned as an outsider. That and lots of talk about poop (always a winner in YA books). What sets it apart is the way it echoes the 1,001 Nights and really lacks much of a plot. Instead, we get lots of characterization through storytelling -- about Khosrou's great, great grandparents, great grandparents, grandparents, Mom and Dad, step-dad, sister, friends, enemies (as you'd expect), but also about heroes from Persian literature. There's even a six-page stretch where the Shiite-Sunni split is explained in kid-friendly terms, something I'd share with my students if I still taught world religions, including the Islam unit. Rating it is tough, though. It's good, it's entertaining, it has elements that might intrigue young readers, but the loosely interconnected stories and anecdotes (and lack of plot) might lose more than one young reader, making it one of those YA's that might appeal more to adult readers of YA than to the young adults themselves. At least ones that are reluctant readers. That said, if you have students who are immigrants and / or ESL students well enough along to read full-blown YA books, by all means hand them a copy. They'll surely empathize with Khosrou's long and difficult journey -- not to mention his pride in his heritage.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Skip

    Daniel Nayeri (Khosrou) is a middle school student in Oklahoma, who was born in Iran, before fleeing with his mother. I found this book very frustrating to read as Daniel/Khosrou jumps back and forth between (1) his new life in Oklahoma, where he is poor, where his mother is overworked and underemployed, and his stepfather, who is a martial arts guy, beats on his mother; (2) his early life in Iran where his family was wealthy, and he got along with his sister; and (3) his transition between the Daniel Nayeri (Khosrou) is a middle school student in Oklahoma, who was born in Iran, before fleeing with his mother. I found this book very frustrating to read as Daniel/Khosrou jumps back and forth between (1) his new life in Oklahoma, where he is poor, where his mother is overworked and underemployed, and his stepfather, who is a martial arts guy, beats on his mother; (2) his early life in Iran where his family was wealthy, and he got along with his sister; and (3) his transition between the two as a refugee. Nayeri also tries to integrate some Persian mythology, and like The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree fails in making the stories work together.

  6. 4 out of 5

    jacq

    This book is unlike anything I’ve read recently (or ever?). Nayeri’s narrative voice is so beautiful and sincere, and the way he weaved stories from his childhood in Oklahoma to the family lore and folklore he heard growing up in Iran and as a refugee was masterfully done. There was a little too much discussion of blood and poop for my taste, but otherwise I really liked it. I can tell that this is a book that’s going to stick with me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    This is the book I will be gifting to everyone I know in the coming months. This is not a typical memoir. The way Nayeri weaves his own story among his family's and Persian mythology is beautiful and poignant, and hearing it all come from his younger self is such a fascinating choice. Nayeri's musings on what makes a myth and, perhaps even more importantly, what makes a storyteller, are not to be skimmed over. This is a book to revisit and cherish.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Clay

    This is my 2020 Newbery and I can't understand how the National Book Award committee left it off its longlist. Daniel (Khosrou) Nayeri's fictionalized memoir is loosely structured as an Iranian immigrant's middle school responses to his teacher's prompts, but it has an age-defying, transporting, epic quality worthy of and modeled on Scheherazade. Deft language. Imaginative structure. Diversity. Iran to Italy to Oklahoma, his-Christian-covert-mother-under-a-fatwa-for-converting immigration story This is my 2020 Newbery and I can't understand how the National Book Award committee left it off its longlist. Daniel (Khosrou) Nayeri's fictionalized memoir is loosely structured as an Iranian immigrant's middle school responses to his teacher's prompts, but it has an age-defying, transporting, epic quality worthy of and modeled on Scheherazade. Deft language. Imaginative structure. Diversity. Iran to Italy to Oklahoma, his-Christian-covert-mother-under-a-fatwa-for-converting immigration story (can you imagine?). Fictionalized Persian refugee memoir and history. Humor, pathos, beauty. All here in spades, granted with some adult touches/flavor, but I used to really like that when I was a kid. Thank you, Khosrou-Daniel, so much. Highly over-the-moon recommended. Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ef4AB... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e31Pb... Full Documentary Short: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXNuh...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    I'm re-writing my rage reviews because I have a lot of time to waste right now. But anyway, there was not really anything I liked about this book. To start, this is basically a memoir of an 8-year-old boy (this author) who immigrates from Iran to the US with his mother. I'm from Iran and I thought that this, being a book representing me, would be something I enjoyed. Nah. I absolutely HATED this, every single aspect of it. Things I Liked: -the cover -the font -the type of paper, it was soft but kind I'm re-writing my rage reviews because I have a lot of time to waste right now. But anyway, there was not really anything I liked about this book. To start, this is basically a memoir of an 8-year-old boy (this author) who immigrates from Iran to the US with his mother. I'm from Iran and I thought that this, being a book representing me, would be something I enjoyed. Nah. I absolutely HATED this, every single aspect of it. Things I Liked: -the cover -the font -the type of paper, it was soft but kinda like cardstock at the same time -that's it Things I Disliked: -Something I hated was the narration style. Other people who reviewed this book have said that this book has "inspiring and interesting" narration, but no. I'd like to recommend that everyone reads Sofia's review of another book, which pretty much sums up how I feel about the narration in this. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... -It didn't have chapters. It was just book, book, book and more book with no chapters separating it at all. That made it hard to get through. -It didn't even have a plot! The author would tell a random story about their great grandmother, and then the next page they'd start with a story about how someone stole their baseball cap in 1st grade. (I'm serious.) Overall, I just couldn't get into this book and I had to DNF it 100 pages in.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus This autobiographical novel gives the readers the impressions of the world that Khosrou, who goes by Daniel in the US, has about his experiences leaving Iran as a small child and eventually settling in Oklahoma. It's not an easy transition for a lot of reasons, and there are stories of living in Iran, family history, and Iranian legends, intermingled with Daniel's modern day problems in middle school. It was fascinating to see every day life in Iran-- visits to gr E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus This autobiographical novel gives the readers the impressions of the world that Khosrou, who goes by Daniel in the US, has about his experiences leaving Iran as a small child and eventually settling in Oklahoma. It's not an easy transition for a lot of reasons, and there are stories of living in Iran, family history, and Iranian legends, intermingled with Daniel's modern day problems in middle school. It was fascinating to see every day life in Iran-- visits to grandparents, the parents careers as a dentist and a doctor, favorite foods-- in contrast to the problems that Daniel faces with his new classmates, who make fun of him because he is different. The family history if painful and filled with many challenges, from a great grandmother who was married very young, to marital problems, to the mother's conversion to Christianity at a wedding in England that eventually caused her to leave Iran, since it was illegal to participate in that religion. There are other problems in the US; the family struggles financially, and the mother has a difficult relationship with Ray, who is abusive but also helpful to the family monetarily. Daniel talks to his father, who has stayed behind in Iran, and is somewhat wistful for him, and is glad when his father finally comes to Oklahoma to visit. Strengths: I have had a handful of students from Iran, and aside from Dumas's 2016 and It Ain't So Awful, Falafel , Rosenblatt's 2017 The Lost Boys and Homayoonfar's 2019 Taking Cover: One Girl's Story of Growing Up During the Iranian Revolution , there aren't many middle grade books with Iranian characters. This has a little bit of everything; mentions of Scheherazade and the 1,001 Nights, Iranian history, daily life, food, and the difficulties Daniel faces in Oklahoma. Many of my students don't understand how difficult it can be to move to a new country, and books can be a great way for them to understand the challenges newcomers can face. The swirling cover is certainly representative of the way the stories and language flow poetically throughout this book. Weaknesses: There's a fine line between authors telling the story they need to tell and telling a story that readers need to read. This book lacked a central plot and linear progression of events, and young readers may struggle to understand what is going on. Other reviewers have mentioned that there is a lot of talk about poop and blood, and that this might be appealing to younger readers, but the mentions are not usually done in a funny way. This is almost more of a Young Adult Book, given the free flowing style and the range of difficult family dynamics presented. What I really think: Certainly an interesting book, and I'm debating. I was hoping that this would be a bit more like Varadarajan and Week's Save Me a Seat or Yang's Front Desk.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Eti

    In a word: Distinguished. Put this on your mock Newbery list immediately.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jillian Adams

    "But what you believe about the future will change how you live in the present" Such a world of learning in the book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kaveh

    Nayeri's book is not just a memoir, it's rather a beautiful story that has one foot in the reality of his immigration with all its funny and sad moments and one foot in skillful storytelling with a sweet dash of Persian poetry and folklore.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ampersand Inc.

    Saffron (5/5): Wow…This is hands down the best book I have read all year, Nayeri is a phenomenal story teller…you are laughing, crying and sometimes at the same time. Brilliant! Laureen (4/5): Debut author Daniel Nayeri is garnering rave reviews in the US media and this will help in the Canadian market. It’s listed as a middle grade novel, but I think it’s actually skewed for a more advance and perhaps older reader – maybe YA? It’s 1989 and the author is sharing his memories of childhood from his e Saffron (5/5): Wow…This is hands down the best book I have read all year, Nayeri is a phenomenal story teller…you are laughing, crying and sometimes at the same time. Brilliant! Laureen (4/5): Debut author Daniel Nayeri is garnering rave reviews in the US media and this will help in the Canadian market. It’s listed as a middle grade novel, but I think it’s actually skewed for a more advance and perhaps older reader – maybe YA? It’s 1989 and the author is sharing his memories of childhood from his early days in Iran until his world fell apart. Daniel and his mother and older sister had to flee Iran because his mother had a death fatwa on her – she converted to Christianity. The trio were in refugee limbo for a while before eventually settling in Oklahoma, USA. Nayeri stands before his new classmates like a deer in the head lights and has to explain who he is and how he arrived there. The story is filled with funny passages, descriptive references to Persian fables and legends, back stories of his beloved family members and his long and dangerous journey to the USA.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    This is a stunning and beautifully-written novel that belongs on every middle-school student's must-read list. It is equal parts poetic, soulful and heart-breaking. I particularly enjoyed the weaving of Persian folklore with the narrative of Daniel's family history and his own story as a refugee.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Liz Star

    This is one of the best books I have read—ever. I accidentally borrowed the audio version from my library app. Little did I realize the audiobook is narrated by the author himself. There is no better way to consume this story, these stories, than to hear Hosro Daniel Nayeri read it himself. If I could both rewind and fast forward time, to hear Mr. Nayeri narrate a second book about his patchwork memories—the foundational truth of a refugee—I would in an instant.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katrina

    This was good, but there’s no way it’s middle grade. I don’t believe the narrator is 12 (no matter how many languages he speaks) and I can’t imagine there are very many real kids who can handle this level of narrative complexity. (I get what he was going for, but I, for one, could have really used some chapter breaks!) If it was YA (or even adult), it’d be great!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Equally heartbreaking and funny, Daniel’s story is one that stays with you. Beautifully written, with Persian folklore woven seamless throughout the book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    I think that this is the most amazing book I've read this year. I know...I've loved many books, given them five stars, but this book continues to un-do me every few pages. It is the perfect balm for listening to my husband's election updates, playing three rooms away, on November 5th 2020. "I need a beer," he said. He never has his single beer until 6pm. This is too hard for any of us.. The book is about a young Iranian boy whose mother brings him to Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma...does it matter? T I think that this is the most amazing book I've read this year. I know...I've loved many books, given them five stars, but this book continues to un-do me every few pages. It is the perfect balm for listening to my husband's election updates, playing three rooms away, on November 5th 2020. "I need a beer," he said. He never has his single beer until 6pm. This is too hard for any of us.. The book is about a young Iranian boy whose mother brings him to Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma...does it matter? That's me talking, not the book, but it is also how the book sounds. I love the boy. He may or may not be the author and protagonist of this book...but it doesn't matter . I think he is definitely the author. But his story intertwines with Scheherazade's story. It is also a story of the protagonist's mother and father, his grandparents, his great grandparents...now, I'll have to check to make certain that all of these ancestors are actually included. It is also a story of how much he pays for being a Dolphin's fan in Oklahoma, and for having a name no one can pronounce, and for wearing the wrong clothes. Also a book about how cruel certain groups of people, even fifth graders can be. I know, I taught them for almost twenty years. But fifth graders can be exceptionally wise...and loving...and connected. So can most people if they have a mother like Khosrou did. I wish I could have been Khosrou's teacher. I like to think I would have noticed that he was a writer, in particular, a poet. I want to think I would have paid special attention on the playground by the creek, so no one was unkind. His teacher did understand that he was extraordinary. And in certain ways, she too, saved him. Even his father, who didn't understand how he had hurt his son, redeems himself for a hot second. Reading this book is like reading a map of how the world shouldn't be, a map of how it is, and a mythology of how our stories help us survive. I love it Nayeri describes his own intentions as he refers over and over, throughout this novel, to the The Arabian Nights and Scheherazade's plan for saving her life as she spins out tales for the king over 1,001 nights: "Dear Reader, you have to understand the point of all these stories. What they add up to. Scheherazade is trying to make the king human again. She made him love life by showing him all of it, the funny parts about poop, the dangerous parts with demons, even the boring parts about what makes marriages last. That, essentially, is the novelist's intention. He wants you to love life, as he, his child-self, so clearly does." "The Point of the Arabian Nights is that if you spend time with each other--if we really listen in the parlors of our minds and look at each other as we were meant to be seen--then we would fall in love. We would marvel at how beautifully we were made. We would never think to be villain kings, and we would never kill each other. Just the opposite. The stories aren't the thing. The thing is the story 'of' the story. The spending of the time. The falling in love." Spoiler Alert: More passages from the book that I loved and copied: His dad and uncle have taken Khosrou pheasant hunting. "They started talking --I have no idea what about. Grown-ups will talk sometimes in boring words about boring ideas to groom each other like apes, to let each other know they're pals." 120 his grandma Ellie was married at thirteen. "I don't know what it would be like to be thirteen and married. I guess one thing it makes you is scared all the time that everyone will hurt you. Even as she got older, people said she acted like a kid--thought only about her own problems and wasn't very mother-like.Ellie took more damage than an Oklahoma trailer park n a tornado and people blamed her for retreating into the bomb shelter of her own mind...Every side of an explosion looks different./If you're looking at a bull collapsing to the ground and I'm beside you looking at it, we're seeing two bulls die, two rivers of blood, two everything. That's why there is an infinite labyrinth of stories, even in just one family. 130 Sometimes you fall in love that way, when you're drowning in a sea of pain. It's not a happy love. It's just whoever manages not to hurt you all the time. You think they must be the best the world has to offer. The little window of time you aren't in pain can seem like happiness. A patchwork memory is the shame of a refugee. 207 Another way of saying it is that everybody is dying and going to die and f you're not spending your time on the stuff you believe, then what are you even doing. What is the point of the whole thing?"

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    This book blew me away...hands down, my favorite 2020 book I've read so far this year. My reader's heart lives for that excited feeling you get when you discover a new author whose voice is so fresh, so exuberant, so brazen in its willingness to take you for a ride on his own terms, whether you're ready for it or not. What Daniel Nayeri delivers in his refugee story is just that -- his voice and storytelling style are uniquely his own, and when he jumps from his scarce precious memories of his g This book blew me away...hands down, my favorite 2020 book I've read so far this year. My reader's heart lives for that excited feeling you get when you discover a new author whose voice is so fresh, so exuberant, so brazen in its willingness to take you for a ride on his own terms, whether you're ready for it or not. What Daniel Nayeri delivers in his refugee story is just that -- his voice and storytelling style are uniquely his own, and when he jumps from his scarce precious memories of his grandparents in Iran, to the myths of Persia, and back to his 7th grade Oklahoma classroom with its chorus of Jareds and Jennifers who question his every word, you feel compelled to go along for the ride with him. Funny, painful, poignant...this is utterly riveting, compelling stuff.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Leonard Kim

    In fiction, I've been reading children's literature almost exclusively for more than seven years, and part of the reason was to get away from writing like this. But it would be unfair to rate this lower because of that.

  22. 5 out of 5

    DaNae

    Beautifully written is an understatement. But it will have a hard time finding young readers who are ready for its complex structure.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Susie Finkbeiner

    When I first heard of this book by Daniel Nayeri I knew it would be good. What I didn't know was how powerfully it would hit. I desperately needed the hope that Daniel's writing offers. Turns out, I also needed to remember that there's a cost for joy, and that it's always worth it. I couldn't wait to get to my local bookstore to buy the book (which I'm still going to do #shoplocal), so I borrowed the audiobook (which the author reads). It's worth a listen. I can't wait to read it with my eyeball When I first heard of this book by Daniel Nayeri I knew it would be good. What I didn't know was how powerfully it would hit. I desperately needed the hope that Daniel's writing offers. Turns out, I also needed to remember that there's a cost for joy, and that it's always worth it. I couldn't wait to get to my local bookstore to buy the book (which I'm still going to do #shoplocal), so I borrowed the audiobook (which the author reads). It's worth a listen. I can't wait to read it with my eyeballs soon. Friends, please read this book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lynda

    I had a very hard time getting thoroughly interested in this book. That's why the relatively low rating. I'm not generally into mythology, so that is what made this book drag. The beginning was about the mythology of Persia and the stories he remembers hearing about his grandparents (born in Iran). The point the author was trying to make was that you have to know someone's history before you can understand them - or even - you have to know your own history and stories before you can understand y I had a very hard time getting thoroughly interested in this book. That's why the relatively low rating. I'm not generally into mythology, so that is what made this book drag. The beginning was about the mythology of Persia and the stories he remembers hearing about his grandparents (born in Iran). The point the author was trying to make was that you have to know someone's history before you can understand them - or even - you have to know your own history and stories before you can understand yourself - but I don't think that's true. I found the mythology and some of the stories about his grandparents rather boring and pointless, but midway through the book the stories took on more interest as he described his life in Oklahoma and even his mother's past was somewhat interesting. So all in all, it was good when it was about Khosrou, but not so much about history. I also found the narrator's attitude to the reader rather condescending which was annoying. For instance instead of saying the reader wouldn't understand things, writing a book gives one the chance to explain. For instance, instead of saying one can't pronounce Khosrou, tell us how to pronounce it!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    This is not only the best book I’ve read this year, this is one of the most beautifully told stories I’ve read in a while. I’ll have a more full musing coming on Instagram later, but I just want you to know that Nayeri’s work is a gift—as it always is—and this memoir made me sob and laugh and has enriched my own life by the sharing of his.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Carissa

    This is a book of a lifetime. Daniel draws the reader into his adolescent world, maintaining the voice of a preteen as he tells and retells the stories of his youth. At times, I laughed out loud. Other times, I cried big wet, inconsolable tears. Throughout the book, I felt I was sitting with a friend, drawn in to the rich stories of his youth and Persian culture. Daniel's words have stayed with me long beyond the last page. I learned not only about his culture but about love and heartbreak, cour This is a book of a lifetime. Daniel draws the reader into his adolescent world, maintaining the voice of a preteen as he tells and retells the stories of his youth. At times, I laughed out loud. Other times, I cried big wet, inconsolable tears. Throughout the book, I felt I was sitting with a friend, drawn in to the rich stories of his youth and Persian culture. Daniel's words have stayed with me long beyond the last page. I learned not only about his culture but about love and heartbreak, courage, acceptance and strength. This is a story not only about Daniel but about the strength and courage of his mother, a true hero who pushed her children forward with unstoppable force. I've already pre-ordered it to give as gifts.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Nayeri writes a memoir that is both fiction and nonfiction, both true and untrue, merging memories of his life growing up in Iran and becoming a refugee to his eventual life in Oklahoma with stories and legends about his ancestors in the style of Scheherazade and 1,001 Nights. It's not only about the things that happened, but also finding the truth of those people and events, which is not necessarily reached by an examination of facts. It's written as one long narrative, with breaks but no chapt Nayeri writes a memoir that is both fiction and nonfiction, both true and untrue, merging memories of his life growing up in Iran and becoming a refugee to his eventual life in Oklahoma with stories and legends about his ancestors in the style of Scheherazade and 1,001 Nights. It's not only about the things that happened, but also finding the truth of those people and events, which is not necessarily reached by an examination of facts. It's written as one long narrative, with breaks but no chapters, which seems appropriate as stories and events merge into one. Captivating. Review from e-galley.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Jeziorski

    I listened to an ALC from Libro.fm that was free for librarians. This review is based on the audio copy. I loved this book for its mix of Persian stories, refugees’ struggles, and adjustment to living in a new place. Daniel comes to America from Iran, via Dubai and Italy. The book seems to be centered on stories he tells in his English class at school. He’s quite a storyteller, and the voice at times jumps around between past and present, fiction and his life. I enjoyed it—it’s heartbreaking at I listened to an ALC from Libro.fm that was free for librarians. This review is based on the audio copy. I loved this book for its mix of Persian stories, refugees’ struggles, and adjustment to living in a new place. Daniel comes to America from Iran, via Dubai and Italy. The book seems to be centered on stories he tells in his English class at school. He’s quite a storyteller, and the voice at times jumps around between past and present, fiction and his life. I enjoyed it—it’s heartbreaking at times.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    This book blew me away. Nayeri is a consummate storyteller and an unbelievable artist. I'm not sure what kid I'd give this book to - it's heartbreakingly sad and can be challenging to follow. But, wow. Just - wow.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Amazing

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