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Review: Prisoner by Jason Rezaian

Prisoner: My 544 Days in an Iranian Prison—Solitary Confinement, a Sham Trial, High-Stakes Diplomacy, and the Extraordinary Efforts It Took to Get Me Out by Jason Rezaian


This is a difficult book to review. On the one hand, it was interesting and informative and tells a story that must have been truly traumatic for the author. On the other hand, I felt a little frustrated because I couldn't really connect to Rezaian as much as I had hoped. Of course I felt for him and his family for what they had to go through, but somehow there remained a distance between him telling the story and me the reader, which prevented me from being as moved or engaged as I had hoped I would be. Rezaian's bias and resentment is totally understandable, but some of his commentary felt elitist and not in keeping with the journalistic tone I assumed he would take, given the fact that he was a journalist for the Washington Post at this time. I also didn't think the actual writing of the book was that good, but it was engaging and interesting and felt relevant to the current times as well. I listened to this as an audiobook and the author narrates himself, and while I commend him for it, because I'm sure it's not easy, I also felt a little irritated at times because he mispronounced names fairly often and also - yes, I know I'm awful - he always said "nucular" instead of "nuclear"... and I just wonder why no one thought to tell him. I sound so mean, eek! I guess I just expected something a little different than I got. This all being so, it was obviously a traumatic and scary experience I cannot even imagine going through and it shed some light on a country that is in the news so much these days, though as I said, obviously not an unbiased one.