Author: Rahimeh Andalibian
Publisher: Nightingale Press
ISBN: 978-0615672236

“If only.  If only.”  Ahhh, the “if only” thoughts of our lives.  “If only” Rahimeh’s brother Abdollah had no car … “if only” he hadn’t left the house in secret … “if only” he hadn’t been seen with a girl not wearing a headscarf and hadn’t reacted … “if only” the author's father hadn’t been such an authoritarian parent … “if only” the family didn’t live in Iran where obedience to the father was imperative.  Obedience to Baba was expected, for “to disobey would be to shatter the delicate peace” in the family.  

But was it truly peace or rather was it merely subservience to a culture, a domineering and controlling parent, a chaotic time in history?  This heart-breaking book explores this and other questions in a most provocative way.

Iranian-born author, clinical psychologist Dr. Rahimeh Andalibian, delicately and poignantly tells the real-life story of her Iranian Muslim life in Iran and later as a new immigrant to the United States.  The reader follows her story of a young girl, her two brothers and parents living the reality of Iran’s 1979 revolution. Politics, evil, family secrets, betrayal, brutality and lies were Rahimeh’s childhood formation.  One day, she is a child, living a life of tranquility, beauty, prosperity and innocently playing hide and go seek with her brothers.  The next day, she is abruptly separated from her family and home without explanation.  The child quickly grows up as tempers flare, family security is violated, silence around-certain-issues pervades, and parents no longer seem able to cope with the reality of their tragic lives.

A move to the United States brought hope for healing, hope for reconciliation, hope for a future.  But that hope was short-lived.  They were new immigrants in a world where language and customs brought culture shock and new problems. And, although they had escaped the terrors of Iran, no one in the family was free from the hidden truths and festering lies that came with them and burrowed deeply in their minds and hearts.  Like land mines, when the secrets erupted, they brought devastating heart-ache.

This is a book about one family, but it is also a book about all families regardless of country of origin, language, sexual orientation, race or religion.  The gift of this book is in its ability to be a reminder of our shared humanity where … all families have secrets … all parents make mistakes … all children act at some time without thought of consequence … where sorrow is not reserved just for certain people … where tragedy doesn’t only occur to bad people … and where hope can sustain.

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