Review by Fuzaila -- The Buried Secrets of Peonies

This forum is for volunteer reviews by members of our review team. These reviews are done voluntarily by the reviewers and are published in this forum, separate from the official professional reviews. These reviews are kept separate primarily because the same book may be reviewed by many different reviewers.
User avatar
Fuzaila
Posts: 359
Joined: 26 Jun 2018, 06:33
2018 Reading Goal: 10
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 160
Currently Reading: White Jaguar
Bookshelf Size: 1023
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-fuzaila.html
Latest Review: Four Funny Potatoes! by Len Foley

Review by Fuzaila -- The Buried Secrets of Peonies

Post by Fuzaila » 25 Aug 2018, 21:10

[Following is a volunteer review of "The Buried Secrets of Peonies" by Mernegar Dorgoly.]
Book Cover
4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


The Buried Secrets of the Peonies is a harrowing collection of eight short stories that narrates the tale of people who lived, lost loved ones, and inevitably had to kill loved ones under the rule of the supreme leader Khomeini in Iran during the nineteen eighties. I was initially unaware of the massacre that threatened one of the Asian countries a few decades back. After reading this book, I understood why. The government refused to acknowledge the martyrs and survivors of the Islamic Regime. Families were denied the knowledge of the burial locations of their dear ones who were executed. More than three thousand people were ruthlessly killed and questioned about their loyalties to the Islamic Theocratic government.

The book starts with a section titled How it began.... Dorgoly gives us a fair amount of background information in his prologue, and points out the political and national ignorance of the mass massacre that prompted him to pen down this book. His love for his country is evident in the way he voices his thoughts. The eight stories are all fictional, varying in length and narrative. There is a wife waiting for her husband who will never return, a woman who’s trying to wash off the lingering pain of sexual harassment she was subjected to in prison, a mother who is still pining for her daughter who is possibly dead, a daughter reminiscing her mother in light of her own pregnancy, and a few others. The stories are filled with distress, hope, and nostalgia.

The writing style of this book is impeccable. Dorgoly’s voice is fresh and stimulating, which reminded me of Khaled Hosseini. I especially loved the first and the last chapters. The first chapter titled Petunias is a striking tale of two prison inmates who develop a bond while confined to their cell. It was a beautiful story; the companionship and the intense relationship between the two strangers were tear-jerking. The last chapter titled Peonies is a heart-touching epistolary. A pregnant woman writes a letter to her mom who was executed shortly after her birth. This touching story explores the emotional woes of a woman who never got to know her family when they were alive. This book evinces love and other uncontrolled emotions during the trying times of war. What makes it stand out is the overall sense of hope throughout the tales of grief; I didn’t feel depressed and grieved. Quite to the contrary, I was awarded a sense of optimism and empathy.

I was surprised and quite vexed by the lack of exploration of faith in this book. While this isn’t a big problem, I hoped the stories would provide a glimpse into the Islamic ways of life, since it is set in Iran, and most of the characters are Muslims. The only substantiation was the mention of Adhan, which is the Muslim call for prayer. Otherwise, the stories gave away nothing about the characters and their beliefs.

Considering my general aversion towards short stories, The Buried Secrets of the Peonies impressed me a lot. It is stunningly written, and the stories are deep and meaningful. I picked up this book mainly because it was about the struggles of ordinary Muslims, people like me, in a country ruled by a strict Islamic Regime. This is a story of importance, a voice that needs to be heard. As such, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. There were very few noticeable errors, which clearly indicates that the book is professionally edited. I would recommend this book to everybody, regardless of their age, caste, and gender. However, one of the stories titled Mirrors is about a sexually harassed woman, so people who are sensitive to the topic are forewarned.

******
The Buried Secrets of Peonies
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

Like Fuzaila's review? Post a comment saying so!
"Create your own identity. Let it be unique for yourself yet identifiable for others." :tiphat:

User avatar
Dolor
Posts: 2030
Joined: 07 Nov 2017, 14:41
2018 Reading Goal: 200
2017 Reading Goal: 5
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 18
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 140
Favorite Author: Craig R. Key
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 11676
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-dolor.html
Latest Review: The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid by Gary Robinson
Reading Device: 1400697484
fav_author_id: 115430

Post by Dolor » 26 Aug 2018, 09:02

Wow, this is a very thorough review!

I wonder why this book is about the struggles of ordinary Muslims in a country ruled by a strict Islamic Regime, but doesn't provide a glimpse into the Islamic ways of life. This book only chronicles tragic events. Almost all reviewers gave this book a perfect rating so this might be an awesome book.

User avatar
Fuzaila
Posts: 359
Joined: 26 Jun 2018, 06:33
2018 Reading Goal: 10
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 160
Currently Reading: White Jaguar
Bookshelf Size: 1023
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-fuzaila.html
Latest Review: Four Funny Potatoes! by Len Foley

Post by Fuzaila » 26 Aug 2018, 09:19

Dolor wrote:
26 Aug 2018, 09:02
Wow, this is a very thorough review!

I wonder why this book is about the struggles of ordinary Muslims in a country ruled by a strict Islamic Regime, but doesn't provide a glimpse into the Islamic ways of life. This book only chronicles tragic events. Almost all reviewers gave this book a perfect rating so this might be an awesome book.
Exactly Dolor! I wondered why that was too. But authors like Hosseini never did portray Islamic ways in his novels either. Thank you for commenting.
"Create your own identity. Let it be unique for yourself yet identifiable for others." :tiphat:

User avatar
Asavela
Posts: 176
Joined: 30 May 2018, 10:47
2018 Reading Goal: 10
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 80
Favorite Book: Island Games
Currently Reading: Journey of a Bedroom Poet
Bookshelf Size: 27
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-asavela.html
Latest Review: Barbra Streisand: On the Couch by Alma H. Bond, Ph.D.

Post by Asavela » 26 Aug 2018, 15:27

It is great we finally get to hear people's stories. The stories are so touching indeed. Thank you for the great review.

User avatar
Bianka Walter
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 1183
Joined: 10 Feb 2018, 15:22
2018 Reading Goal: 40
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 125
Favorite Book: The Old Man and the Sea
Currently Reading: In a Cottage In a Wood
Bookshelf Size: 327
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bianka-walter.html
Latest Review: The Face of Fear by R. J. Torbert
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by Bianka Walter » 26 Aug 2018, 16:12

This book does sound a bit depressing, so I'm glad you included that it made you feel the opposite. For such a meaningful and significant book, I'm happy that the author was able to get it so right.
Thanks, Fuzaila, wonderful review :)
You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.
- Dr. Seuss

User avatar
Sarah Tariq
Posts: 1356
Joined: 17 Mar 2017, 02:17
2018 Reading Goal: 25
2017 Reading Goal: 15
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 88
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 46
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 65
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-sarah-tariq.html
Latest Review: A Thousand Seeds of Joy by Ananda Karunesh
Reading Device: PDF

Post by Sarah Tariq » 27 Aug 2018, 10:57

No doubt the author perfectly described all the characters and and their emotional backgrounds. It was a horrific incidents. As I mentioned in my review that establishing an Islamic regime in a Muslim country was not bad but the way it was established was absolutely wrong.
Thanks for this great review.
Make your ideals high enough to inspire you and low enough to encourage you.

User avatar
Espie
Posts: 1093
Joined: 05 May 2018, 06:36
2018 Reading Goal: 12
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 116
Currently Reading: The Force Awakens
Bookshelf Size: 86
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-espie.html
Latest Review: Pastoring is not what you think by Elijah Oladimeji

Post by Espie » 28 Aug 2018, 00:32

This seems to be another poignant tale of atrocities and gloom. It's good that it is also a story of hope and better possibilities. Thank you for your insightful review.
"Life has many different chapters for us. One bad chapter doesn't mean it's the end of the book."-Unknown
"To err is human; to forgive, divine."-Alexander Pope
"Put GOD first; He'll bless your efforts with success."-Proverbs

User avatar
prospero360
Posts: 474
Joined: 09 Jul 2017, 06:19
2018 Reading Goal: 25
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 128
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 45
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-prospero360.html
Latest Review: They Called Us The Anunnaki by Morgan Daughtry

Post by prospero360 » 28 Aug 2018, 06:29

I'm not usually into these type of books, but in the spirit of trying new things, I'm open to giving it a try. Thank you for the review.

Nma26
Posts: 202
Joined: 26 Apr 2018, 09:40
Currently Reading: Destiny
Bookshelf Size: 17
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-nma26.html
Latest Review: Twisted Threads by Kaylin McFarren

Post by Nma26 » 28 Aug 2018, 07:23

I empathise with the author.Stories like this could be very emotional and also very revealing.Thanks for the detailed review.

User avatar
joycechitwa
Posts: 344
Joined: 18 Jun 2018, 08:53
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 21
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-joycechitwa.html
Latest Review: Chrome Mountain by Ben Schneider

Post by joycechitwa » 29 Aug 2018, 07:38

Books such as these are what give credence to the whole profession of writing. How else would we know that such atrocities took place if there were no narrators like the author Mernegar Dorgoly to describe them to us? As you rightly say, the author should have delved a little deeper into the Muslim lifestyle, or at least try to elaborate on the underlying factors that caused this horrific eruption. That would help answer some of the lingering questions. Thanks for this.

User avatar
Bonnie Shelby
Posts: 346
Joined: 12 May 2018, 20:07
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 78
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bonnie-shelby.html
Latest Review: Apollo's Raven by Linnea Tanner
Reading Device: B00IKPYKWG

Post by Bonnie Shelby » 29 Aug 2018, 12:30

Fantastic review! It seems that the difficulties and hardships of the characters would make the book take on a depressing note, but I'm glad you were able to see hope and optimism shining through. This one definitely sounds worth reading.

User avatar
Rosemary Khathibe
Posts: 493
Joined: 05 Jul 2017, 16:48
2018 Reading Goal: 55
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 47
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 66
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-rosemary-khathibe.html
Latest Review: The Neighbour at Number 18 by Hawa Crickmore

Post by Rosemary Khathibe » 29 Aug 2018, 14:42

The book seems to contain very painful stories. It's sad that Iran experienced massacre in the '80, with the ignorant government that could not even offer closure to widows and children who had lost their fathers. Intriguing review!

User avatar
Ruba Abu Ali
Posts: 532
Joined: 01 Jul 2018, 09:47
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 81
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-ruba-abu-ali.html
Latest Review: Why can't Johnny Just Quit? by Kyle Oh

Post by Ruba Abu Ali » 31 Aug 2018, 12:51

Stories of such depth and sentiment are definitely worth reading. I am further intrigued by your remark of the similarity in the writing style between the author and Khaled Husseini. Thank you for the great review, Fuzaila. :D

User avatar
sharkyjen998
Posts: 195
Joined: 28 Jul 2018, 14:23
Favorite Book: Apollo's Raven
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 15
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-sharkyjen998.html
Latest Review: Apollo's Raven by Linnea Tanner

Post by sharkyjen998 » 02 Sep 2018, 15:37

Reading the summary of this book was really hard. That really breaks my heart to learn about this horrific tragedy. On top of that, the government's refusal to acknowledge the martyrs and survivors is really appalling. I'm glad you rated this book 4 out of 4 stars, and I'll have to read it to learn more about this.

C-Extra22
Posts: 181
Joined: 29 Aug 2018, 20:10
Currently Reading: Blessed By the darkness
Bookshelf Size: 17
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-c-extra22.html
Latest Review: Days of the Giants by RJ Petrella

Post by C-Extra22 » 04 Sep 2018, 04:55

How was Khomeini stopped?

Post Reply

Return to “Volunteer Reviews”