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Arvin Ahmadi

Autor(a) de Down and Across

4 Works 565 Membros 25 Críticas 1 Favorited

Obras por Arvin Ahmadi

Down and Across (2018) 225 exemplares
Girl Gone Viral (2019) 177 exemplares
How It All Blew Up (2020) 159 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum

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Gr 9 Up—When Amir is blackmailed with being outed to his Iranian Muslim family, he hops on a plane to Rome and
falls in with a group of friends who help him discover what it means to be a gay man. With realistic characters, a
lovely setting, and an innovative narrative style (Amir and his family tell the story while being questioned at the
airport), this book exists at the intersections of sexuality and culture, as well as humor and pain.
BackstoryBooks | 15 outras críticas | Apr 2, 2024 |
Recommended: sure
for a story about escape and finding yourself, bravery and cowardice, how situations can escalate, for some questionable choices that happily turn out safe

I admit, I once DNFd this after the first chapter or so because it was starting to feel pretty far-fetched and I just wasn't into it. This attempt went much better, though I'd still say it felt a lot like... wow, that escalated quickly. We do get a point by point of how one small choice led to the next until he was at somewhere WAY off track from the start, but it was still requiring me to suspend disbelief a bit.

The format where there are one-sided interviews from the family members worked fine for the most part, although sometimes they were a little tiring when it was too in the weeds on miscellaneous details to set the scene. These were also used to give a moment to other issues like racism, profiling, etc. and I'm glad they weren't glossed over, considering the whole premise of the instigating issue on the plane. Sometimes there were really funny moments using that medium too, like when they ask why it's taking so long for them to be let out and then are told it's because their son is talking a lot. xD

Once Amir gets to Rome, he goes through a mix of the expected and not. He does explore the city and become enamored with it as most travelers do in a new place, but he also sees it in an uncommon way. Through poetry slams and city overlooks instead of the Colosseum or Trevi. This makes the "travel" experience part of the book a bit refreshing, as it was still fun to tour the city through his eyes but having been to Rome it was neat to see things I haven't literally seen, if that makes sense. It was a new perspective that isn't often shared.

I was nervous for Amir when he starts just going around with strangers who are ten years older than him, especially where there were some attraction elements being included, as it felt like it could quickly be predatory at worst and at best very uncomfortable though consensual. That was honestly a source of tension for me through basically the whole book which made it a bit harder to read, and I'm not sure if it was intended to feel that way or if it's because I'm adult and a woman that I was more sensitive to that, but I did want to shout at him to be safe sometimes.

Even beyond the looming threat of assault, this was not very lighthearted, which was a surprise. The topics aren't easy of course, but I figured it would be a "fun month in Rome before coming to love myself" sort of story, and while aspects of that are in here it's also a much more honest look at how that would truly go. It's messy, it's dangerous, there are a lot of mistakes made, and those mistakes have consequences. 

I appreciated most that Rome wasn't portrayed as some magical place where everything is great. Amir's new friends themselves tell him that Rome is a difficult or unpleasant place to live for a lot of reasons, and that they all have their own problems too. Just because Rome is an escape from his own problems doesn't mean those who live there are worry-free as well. That gets glossed over a lot in situations like this and with a more nuanced opinion of it all brought in, the traveler in me was happy. Of course everywhere has their issues, despite whatever other beauty and culture and joy it has as well. That's just the way things are.

Where the realism fell was with Amir's sudden change of heart with his Wikipedia editing. He is so against it at the start that he basically just flees the country to avoid the prospect, but then is going right back to it by his own choice. I understand there was a lot of pressure, and that's fine as an angle, but I don't think at any point he thinks about how he feels bad doing it, or wishes he didn't have to, let alone trying to find an alternative. In fact he starts offering it up for extra perks and I'm like, okay so I guess he doesn't actually have that deep moral stance on it that he seemed to at the start. If he changes that's okay, but it was weird that it went from being SUCH a heathen idea to him to apparently perfectly fine. 

So overall I did enjoy this, although at times it felt a little rambly and I was ready to move on. That's the nature of Amir's narrative voice, though, so it fit even if it was a little tiring sometimes. 😅 This is a shockingly long review and I actually could write more about the inclusion of his Persian heritage, his relationships with his family, and so on, but my goodness I think I've covered the overall feel of the book already. If you're interested, go for it! And donate to Wikipedia while you're at it. :D 
… (mais)
Jenniferforjoy | 15 outras críticas | Jan 29, 2024 |

It felt like this book was promising a VR adventure and what I got was a day in the life of a Youtuber.
Michelle_PPDB | 2 outras críticas | Mar 18, 2023 |
I loved this book to a degree, but would offer it to students with the caveat of remembering that not all realistic fiction is "realistic", and that Amir makes many questionable and unsafe decisions, but there is still a lot to learn and gain from his story!
ACLopez6 | 15 outras críticas | Feb 25, 2023 |



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