A Coming-of-Age Story Beneath the Alborz Mountains

Fiction - Cultural
348 Pages
Reviewed on 12/12/2017
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Author Biography

Sandra Ann Heath grew up living around the world, including Tehran, as a military brat in the 1960s and 70s. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and two children. This is her debut novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite

It would be interesting enough to read about an intelligent, likable, very observant seventeen-year-old who is entering womanhood, with all the burgeoning emotions and forays into first love and passion that such a story entails. But add to that the stress of being a “military brat” entering her senior year in a new school, and move her to Tehran during the buildup to the 1979 Iranian Islamic revolution, and you have the makings of a sometimes heart-pounding, sometimes heart-wrenching, always engaging story that satisfies on many levels. Sandra Ann Heath does exactly that in her debut novel, Unrest: A Coming-of-Age Story Beneath the Alborz Mountains, and she does it wonderfully.

Through the experiences and thoughts of the protagonist, Annie, and told in her voice, Heath provides a compassionate yet realistic insight into the stresses faced by military families as they try to provide American “normalcy” for their kids in places as “foreign” as the word can mean. With a highly descriptive narrative, a varied and complex cast of characters, and steady movement through the chronology of the political events that lead to regime change, Heath maintains an entertaining and suspenseful pace. I couldn’t wait to get to the next chapter. In the story, Annie discovers the poet Forugh Farrokhzad, who is associated with social change movements in the decades before the events in the novel. Lines from Farrokhzad’s poems introduce several chapters and interplay with the theme of the need for social change, particularly for women, which Annie raises on several occasions. Unrest tackles not only the experiences of one young woman, but the need for society to recognize the value and equality of all women.