Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I'm here for the food

The Temporary Bride: A Memoir of Love and Food in Iran, Jennifer Klinec
New to bookstore shelves this month -- a memoir set in Iran.  A memoir with love and food. 
Sold; I wanted to read it.  And read it, I did.  Thank you, Hachette.

The verdict: The food content was great for me.
The rest:  Definitely got a strong response from me.  A mixed response;
  • It was difficult for me to be given access to Iran and its culture laced with such strong overtones of disapproval.  Yeah, it's a memoir, so there is going to be opinion, but I guess I was disappointed to find that that opinion was so overt, discrediting many conservative values that I personally respect about Iran's social norms.  Example?  Klinec romantises sexual permissiveness in more than one instance, and even voices within dialogue and memory, that "Something has gone [right] in her life" that she has lost her virginity despite never having married.  I understand I am a conservative human.  I get that most people consider it acceptable and even preferred to have "been laid" by their mid-30s...but lauding sexual experience outside of wedlock as the Western way bugged me.  It still bugs me.  I have little issue with reading about someone different (and far more liberal than me).  It helps me grow.  I take issue when that person claims to represent me.
  • I found it difficult to empathise.  Her life choices are just so different.  The interest in solitude? Loved hearing about it.  A fractured family that still works in many ways?  Interesting. Different passions?   Great to hear about.  Adultery as a comfort?  Meh, you've lost me.
  • The clumsiness of the love affair made for a very authentic-feeling tale.  Sometimes the awkwardness (and outright rudeness) of the communication crossed over into outright odd -- sometimes tactlessness seemed to read as charm (for the characters, at least!).   I wanted to be swept away by the romance.  I wrinkled my nose, instead.  There is some fairly crude content.
  • I was surprised by how short a time the lovers spent together (with little affection, included) before they were expressing their love in such absolute terms!  I am a romantic (and was hasty to declare love, myself!), but I still found myself going, "REALLY!?"
  • Although I didn't find myself thinking, "I am just loving this!" I did want to read it all, quick-smart.  I needed to know how it all was going to play out!
  • I think foodies who are also fans of Rainbow Rowell may just find this to be the jackpot! Sound like you?  Head out and pick up your copy in bookstores today (RRP $39.99).
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