Reading Lolita in Tehran pulls no punches in recounting the nightmarish atrocities that the Islamic Republic of Iran has committed. I still found the book uplifting in many ways. That puzzled me, and I had to ask myself why. For one thing, Nafisi documents the little acts of resistance that the young women in her class committed every day, from wearing jeans or t-shirts or gold hoop earrings under their chadors, to talking openly amongst themselves about the hypocrisy of the men they know who are affiliated with the government. I think the book's uplifting quality also comes from Nafisi testifying to the incredible endurance of the human spirit, even under suffocating oppression, and how brightly literature can keep that torch lit.
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