Fashion is Freedom
Book Review - Fashion is Freedom: How a Girl from Tehran Broke the Rules to Change her World
I really struggled to decide how many stars I wanted to give this book. On one hand, Tala Raassi has a fascinating story worthy of sharing with the world. She lived through quite a bit in Tehran and has a strong message for women worldwide. On the other hand, she chose to share that story in Fashion is Freedom: How a Girl from Tehran Broke the Rules to Change her World in a very tidy, glossy story that could be reduced to a formula:
- Tala needs a diamond
- Tala sees something shiny
- A sketchy-looking man in bad clothes tells her that shiny object is a diamond
- Tala needs a bucket full of money to mine the diamond
- Tala has a friend with a bucket full of money and gives it to her to mine the diamond
- Tala spends a bucket full of money to mine the diamond only to discover that it is actually worthless
- Tala still needs a diamond
- Repeat steps 1-6
I think I get what she wanted to convey but I don't think it was executed as well as it could have been. I thought this book would be more of a rags to riches story - and it definitely started out that way. What Tala had to endure in Tehran is heartbreaking and as a result she moved to the United States and started a fashion company with a strong, powerful message. However, she really glosses over the struggles she faced in life and business. She also had a lot of privileges and advantages. Tala conveniently had a US passport when she needed to leave Tehran, her parents were very wealthy and had money to payoff whoever needed to be paid, and she conveniently had friends who were always willing to give her money. She made a lot of mistakes and poor choices but she rarely had to endure the consequences of those choices, and if she did endure the consequences she chose not to go into depth about the real struggle. She made it seem as if after experience a setback, the very next day all of her crushed dreams were saved by another well-off friend.
PSA: Do not, under any circumstances, listen to this book on Audible. Usually I advocate listening to memoirs and autobiographies on Audible if they are read by the author, but in this case the production value was so low that it was truly awful to listen to.
I read this book along with my student reading group. We met every two weeks over the course of this semester to discuss the book and relate it to our lives and other classes my students are taking. (In addition to this book, we also read In The Name of Gucci by Patricia Gucci.) So in addition to my review, I wanted to share what some of my students had to say about this book:
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