I have always been a huge bookworm. In high school and throughout my college career, I’ve taken as many literature classes as possible, mostly so I could be exposed to as many new books as possible. While I’ve enjoyed much of the required reading I’ve been given over the years, my favorite books have always been those that deal with hot-button issues or help me understand cultures I haven’t had much exposure to. I get the most satisfaction out of a book that can make me think and teaches me things while also being fun to read.
I loved Children of the Jacaranda Tree by Sahar Delijani for many of these reasons. The novel takes place in Tehran, Iran, and spans from the early 1980s until present day. It focuses on the children and families of the revolutionaries who worked to overthrow Iran’s government during the Iranian Revolution, and it follows the children from the time they are small until they reach adulthood and have to face many of the same issues their parents did.
It’s an extremely intricate book that intertwines the stories of different families and individuals. Many of the parents are in jail when the story begins. Two of the children the story focuses on are even born while their mothers were serving prison sentences. I loved seeing how all the different puzzle pieces of the characters’ lives fit together and watching the ones who start out as toddlers grow and mature into young adults.
The chapters alternate between the perspectives of the characters, and often years pass between chapters, so the next time we see a familiar character, they have drastically changed. I really enjoyed this because I felt that I got a really well-rounded view of the situations the many families and children faced, and it was interesting trying to piece together what happened in the years that pass between chapters.
Delijani has a beautiful way of writing. She manages to set a delicate tone, but she doesn’t shy away from the hard details of how life was for many during the revolution. This is very much a story of love and family, but it is also the story of a culture clashing and battling within itself while trying to appear outwardly intact. This book gives an in-depth look at the harsh reality that many faced during the Iranian Revolution. The descriptions of conditions within the prison where much of the story takes place are brutal, and the characters are certainly no stranger to violence and corruption.
One of my favorite things about Children of the Jacaranda Tree is that it shows that love can prosper in any condition. The characters face horrible obstacles, and many face the fear that their loved ones may not even be alive, but they don’t give up hope. Each character has their own tiny love story, whether it be love for a family member or romantic love. Even in the darkest situations, they hold on to their love and refuse to give it up.
Children of the Jacaranda Tree was a beautiful novel that taught me a lot about a culture and events that I didn’t know much about. At its heart, it carries the sweet message that love of every kind can overcome all obstacles. If you’re looking for a book that will pull at your heart or you’re a fan of The Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalend Hosseini, you should be sure to check this one out.
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Hi! I’m Abbie. I’m a Wisconsin girl who just completed a degree in journalism, which I hope will help me achieve my goal of reading books and writing about them for a living. In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching Doctor Who and hanging out with my boyfriend and his two cats.
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