Book review: Fleeing the Hijab, A Jewish Woman’s Escape from Iran by Sima Goel


Book Details:

Book Title:  Fleeing the Hijab, A Jewish Woman’s Escape from Iran by Sima Goel
Category:  Adult non-fiction, 362 pages
Genre:  Memoir
Publisher:  Decarie Square Wellness Centre, Sima Goel
Release date:  March 2015
Available for review in:  ebook, (ePub or gifted Kindle)
Tour dates:  Dec 7 – 18, 2015
Content Rating:  PG-13 + M

Book Description:

A true account of Sima Goel, the Iranian teenager who crossed the most dangerous desert in the world rather than accept the restrictions of life in Iran of the early 1980s. Her quest for freedom is a thrilling, timely inspiration for people longing to create a life of meaning. It was the last straw!

The Ayatollah Khomeini had decreed that all women in Iran must wear the hijab, whether they were Muslim, Jewish, Christian, or Baha’i. Thirteen-year-old Sima had gone out into the streets of Shiraz to demonstrate for freedom under the Shah’s oppressive rule, and now that he had fled the country, this was the result: a new regime, and a much more repressive rule. The changes Khomeini’s regime forced on the population were totally incompatible with Sima’s ambitions and sense of personal freedom. Blacklisted by her school, unable to continue her studies, mourning the murders of innocent family members and friends, and forced to wear the hijab, she realized she had to leave her beloved birthplace and find a country where she could be free to follow her dreams.

Fleeing the Hijab is a vivid portrait of a dangerous journey made by two teenaged girls through the Iranian desert to Pakistan, where, as homeless refugees, they struggled desperately to find some way to escape to the West. It is a story that needs to be heard and remembered.

Buy the book:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble  Chapters/Indigo

Sima Goel author pic

Meet the author:   

Iranian-born Sima Goel has always had compassion for those who suffer. Her instinctive need to speak out against oppression ultimately resulted in unwanted attention from the authorities, which led her to flee her beloved Shiraz and eventually to Montreal.

Sima Goel is a self-made woman. Her journey to freedom, recounted in her memoir, Fleeing the Hijab, A Jewish Woman’s Escape from Iran, reflects her belief that, without freedom of choice, life is worthless. She is a strong advocate for the disenfranchised and the rights of all, specifically the rights of women. With the publication of her book, Sima has fulfilled the promise she once made to herself: to speak out and share her truth that freedom is the most precious commodity of all.

Wellness chiropractor, health advocate, inspiring author and an in-demand speaker, Dr. Goel considers her most important role to be that of mother to her two teenage boys, and wife to her beloved husband.

Connect with the author:   Website ~  Twitter ~  Facebook

What an incredible story!  Sima’s story draws you in right away as she develops the complex relationships within her family.  She describes what life is like for a Jewish family living in Iran, from the food and traditions and essentially what life was like for a child growing up in Iran during the time when the  Shah was in power.  Sima is a curious and somewhat headstrong child who loves school and exploring nature.  As the government flees and the Ayatollah Khomeini comes into power we see how people are forced to accept new restrictions under the threat and penalty of imprisonment and death.  Women are forced to wear the hijab and then the chador, something that Sima vehemently denounces.  Her outspokeness places her in danger and the events that follow will keep you on the edge of your seat.
This was not only a memoir, it was a history lesson as well.  As I read the book, there were quite a few terms and expressions that I was not familiar with so I would go back and forth and do research in the internet for pictures and explanations.  For example, women only had one hand free when they wore the chador as they needed one hand to hold it in place, thus limiting their movements.
What I noticed at the beginning of Sima’s book is the huge cast of characters and wondered how I was going to keep them all straight but the book was written in such a way that I understood who everyone was.  This was a real page turner and I found my heart racing as Sima recounted her story.
I would highly recommend this book.  It is both interesting and filled with spine-tingling excitement!
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