Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Review of "The Rose Hotel" by Rahimeh Andalibian


I recently finished reading a book titled "The Rose Hotel" by Rahimeh Andalibian. It's worthy of a review and post. 
The story begins in Iran shortly before the Islamic Revolution in the late-1970s and follows a family who owned a hotel called, you guessed it, The Rose Hotel, into the present time. Much has been written about Islam by both friends and foes since 9/11 and I thought this book might give me some insight into the life of an Islamic family unaffiliated with terrorism, or with what I think of as "militant" Islamic beliefs. It did and I'm glad I read it.
The family is thrown into turmoil when the oldest boy is arrested after the revolution and is sentenced to death for crimes he didn't commit. He's only sixteen. The grief and remorse his death causes traumatizes the family for a generation. 
The book details the family's journeys to England and the United States, how the parents face the challenge of their children becoming westernized, how the children deal with what happened to their older brother, and how they eventually realize they must face what happened together if they wanted to survive as a family.
At first I was a little annoyed that everything in this family's life revolved around the oldest boy, I mean everything. The mother nearly killed herself with grief and I am, frankly, surprised the parent's marriage survived considering the depth of her grief and the depth of the father's guilt. I would like to think that, God forbid, if something so tragic happened to my family we would find a way to move on quicker than the family in this book moved on. It nearly destroyed the parents marriage, drove one brother to drugs and another to reckless financial behavior, and caused many years of grief and, likely, illness, as chronic stress usually leads to illness.
But, I've never walked in their shoes and have no idea what it would be like to lose a child or loved one like that. He was taken from them unjustly and condemned by people who should have been honest and upheld the law.
If this sounds like your cup of tea, the eBook can be found on Amazon HERE, as can the paperback, which, oddly, if you don't mind a used copy, can cost less than the eBook.
I rate the book four stars out of five.