Listening to Marina Nemat describe her life as a thirteen year old – reading Jane Austen and watching Little House on the Prairie, it would be easy to believe that she was living in Canada, not Tehran.
However, in three very short years, her life would change dramatically and at sixteen, when young women here would be planning their prom, Marina found herself imprisoned. Instead of giggling with her girlfriends, she was listening to them being shot. She herself only avoided execution because Ali, a guard, married her at 17.
Perhaps the most poignant message of all is that while it would be all too easy to see her husband and his family as evil, and she was good – It was never that black and white. Her husband himself had been tortured and brought that baggage to the relationship, but his parents welcomed her into the family and were kind, good people. After Ali’s assassination, it was his parents who got her out of prison.
Reunited with her own parents, life was not that simple. They never asked about what happened, and you get the sense that they thought Marina had betrayed them and their faith. But the man she loved had waited for her, and as soon as they could they left Tehran and came to Canada, where she wrote her enthralling book - Prisoner of Tehran.