Read Dreaming in English by Laura Fitzgerald Free Online
Book Title: Dreaming in English|
The author of the book: Laura Fitzgerald
ISBN 13: 9780451232144
Date of issue: February 1st 2011
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 6.77 MB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1890 times
Reader ratings: 3.4
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My mother gave me this book and it's been sitting on my shelf until last week, when I happened to pick it up and read it in a few hours. (It is an easy read). It is about a young woman who comes to the U.S. from Iran to find an Iranian husband and get a green card, but who ends up in a whirlwind marriage to an American man she marries (mostly) for love instead.
The moral of the story is, seemingly, that the protagonist must learn to "fight" for herself and her marriage, rather than "giving up". (Spoilers ahead). She encounters the rage of her man-child husband when she reacts to the threats of (potential) infidelity and, later, accusations of immigration fraud and likely deportation, as an Iranian woman might - by attempting to mollify her husband at any cost, and then by protecting herself by fleeing to Canada, with or without her husband. However, her attempts to protect herself are viewed only through an American lens, as manifestations of low self-esteem and an unwillingness to stand up for oneself. In fact, I saw the character's original decision to move to Canada, alone, as incredibly brave - a willingness to put herself first, even as her husband berated and then basically abandoned her for making such a decision.
The story concludes with the character finally learning to do the "right thing" - attending an immigration appeal she is all but guaranteed to lose and giving a heartfelt speech about how much she loves America - with all her friends and previous detractors getting misty-eyed as the judge proudly grants her residency.
Overall, the book presents (at best) a simplistic and overly naive view of Iranian immigrant women's lives and decisions. It's worth noting that the author is a White American woman - not that white women can't write good books about people from other cultural backgrounds. But to do so, they need to reach out of their own frame of reference and try to understand their characters' worlds from the inside. Not judge them by their own cultural vantage point. Fitzgerald fails massively on that account. She - like the protagonist's husband - never attempts to understand her on her own terms, but rather, forces her into being the woman they want her to be.
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