Saturday, August 29, 2015

Review: A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri

Have you ever finished a book and afterward had your heart pounding, tears running down your cheeks because of how amazingly emotional and intense the last few chapters were? 

Yeah, this was one of those books. 

I wasn't into it right away, but it definitely didn't take me long to actually want to sit down and read it rather than doing something else. The premise was interesting and kept me in suspense, the writing was good, and the characters were fun to spend time with because their personalities were written so well.

A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea follows a portion of the life of a young girl, Saba, living in Iran during the 1980s. The prologue starts with a hazy memory that Saba has of her mom and twin sister getting on an airplane to go to America, but then after that her and her father don't hear from them again.I love how it's never obvious what happened to them, and even members of her family and people in her circle of caregivers in her village aren't really sure, even after she asks. It makes it so that the entire story doesn't just rest on the main character suddenly remembering. 

However, while the suspense of what happened is what moves the story forward, it really becomes a background piece to the real heart of the story, which is Saba's character. The book follows Saba from when she's fourteen to when she's in her late twenties, and her growth over that time while she struggles with her own choices and fears. Above all it is a story about the transformation of Saba's views of herself, others and the world around her that come as a result of her own life experiences. Saba's character is inspiring to me, not because of any determination or strength she has - in fact for a lot of the book, she spends time taking the easy way out - but because she learns and grows. Really, what more do you need to make a good character?

There is so much that is good about this book. Not only are all of the characters fleshed out and present within in the story, but the writing itself is exquisitely clever. I love when authors can write one sentence that reveals everything in a way that strikes you right in the heart. I don't know how some authors do it, draw out such emotion from me with just a handful of words. (Yes, it made me cry). 

A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea is a well-written, beautiful book about a young woman’s life in Iran, and her finally coming to have the courage to stand up to herself, and I definitely think everyone should read it. 

You can find it on Goodreads here.  

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