I finished reading Sheila Adelipour’s book, Dancing to the Darkest Light several weeks ago. Then when I came to writing the review, I couldn’t remember why I liked this book so much.
So I went back and started reading again. Oh yes, this lady can tell great stories. From the first page, the life of Sheila Adelpour was so well-written and so different from my own life, I wanted to keep reading.
Adelipour is Jewish and spent her early years in Iran. She was one of three girls and one boy born to an export/import father and a midwife mother. Life was not hard; in fact she writes of early years with her family as almost ideal. Focusing on the time in Iran, she has particular fun retelling some of her mother’s favorite tales as a midwife.
However, circumstances and politics can change. She also writes of a time when life in Iran became dangerous and chaotic. Ultimately the part of her family that remained in Iran left everything they had and, with the help of a Jewish relocation organization, left Iran and settled in New York.
Life in New York was difficult at first, but the promise of America eventually paid dividends for the family. Two of her sisters and her brother married and had children. Her brother went to medical school. The author too, married and ultimately had four children. Family always was important with information among family members constantly shared. The book contains many pages of pictures of family get-togethers. Everything was fine until…
I won’t give away the full story, but tragedy came to the family in terms of the death of one of Adelipour’s children, then further heartache was on the agenda with other family illnesses. Adelipour writes intimately of the family heartbreaks and her reactions almost as if a mystery is unfolding. The author also offers to provide what could be a life-saving organ donation in one case. As I read on, I was somehow not depressed, just anxious to find the eventual outcomes.
Adelipour talks of good times and bad. She provides details of surroundings and feelings that put the reader as her partner. Is God making all the madness? Or do we blame God at all?
In the end, we see some very wise words from Adelipour. She quotes Harold Kushner who said, “Pain is the price we pay for being alive.”
From the author: “How many successful people do we know who thought they had it all figured out, until that reality check of a day arrived — a medical condition, a sudden tragedy or loss — and rocked their perfect world ? It is how they chose to take a stand towards those uninvited and uncalled for circumstances that defines their liberty and their true power.”
I know that everybody has a story. In the case of Sheila Adelipour, her story was riveting to read.