This sequel of sorts to the bestselling memoir, “Not Without My Daughter,” is full of local interest. Mahtob was the young daughter in that story, and her memories stretch from Tehran to Saginaw.
In 1984, Mahtob’s Iranian-born father took her and her mother to his homeland for what was supposed to be a short vacation with relatives. At the end of the two weeks, he confiscated his family’s American passports and told his wife and daughter they weren’t leaving – ever. Mahtob was very young at the time, but she remembers a lot from her eighteen months in Iran. She feared her father’s violence, and hated learning to chant “Death to America” in school. Mahtob returned home to Michigan at the age of six, where she attended elementary school under an alias, even as she appeared on national television to help her mother promote her book.
As the years passed, the fear that Mahtob’s father would reappear in her life lessened, but, by the time she graduated from Michigan Lutheran Seminary in 1998, the Internet had made it all too easy for him to find her from halfway around the world. The bubble of safety she thought she had made for herself suddenly collapsed. It took years for Mahtob to work through her childhood trauma and learn to get out from under her father’s long shadow, but, today – without condoning his actions – she celebrates her Persian heritage and her American freedom.
Reviewed by Lynn Heitkamp
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