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Summary

At the front of a middle-school classroom in Oklahoma, a boy named Khosrou (whom everyone calls "Daniel") stands, trying to tell a story. His story. But no one believes a word he says. To them he is a dark-skinned, hairy-armed boy with a big butt whose lunch smells funny; who makes things up and talks about poop too much. 

But Khosrou's stories, stretching back years, and decades, and centuries, are beautiful, and terrifying, from the moment his family fled Iran in the middle of the night with the secret police moments behind them, back to the sad, cement refugee camps of Italy...and further back to the fields near the river Aras, where rain-soaked flowers bled red like the yolk of the sunset had burst over everything, and further back still to the jasmine-scented city of Isfahan. 

Like Scheherazade in a hostile classroom, Daniel weaves a tale to save his own life: to stake his claim to the truth. And it is (a true story).

©2020 Daniel Nayeri (P)2020 Listening Library

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loved it!

great story telling and keeps you guessing. well written and well read. best read of the year

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  • AbqRD
  • 13-09-20

Could not get through it—2 out of 7 hrs

I heard his interview on NPR and thought it would be an interesting read. I was not ready for the gory details. After the “bag of cats” story, that was it for me. So depressing I knew I could not finish it. I am so sorry. I know it is a personal story and has relevance and meaning but with everything else going on, I don’t need this in my mind to ponder. I am sorry too that he wound up in a community who does not accept outsiders and am not sure life was a whole lot better except he and his mother are alive instead of beheaded.

Daniel does a great job reading and providing verbal cues and nuance but the story is extremely sad and overwhelming. I believe this is why soldiers returning to “normal” life cannot speak of the atrocities they have seen and experienced—we cannot relate and are horrified. It is a burden to all. I appreciate his willingness to tell his story but I cannot make room for it in my mind and heart just now. Best wishes on his book and hope others are braver and tougher than I am and will finish and appreciate the whole story.

12 people found this helpful

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  • MHunt
  • 17-12-20

Wow!

Best book I've read in a couple of years! I couldn't put it down. The author shared his experiences beautifully and matter of factly. It wasn't overly sad.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Melissa
  • 09-10-20

Unbelievably wonderful

A direct and engaging and unexpected narrator, a multi-layered story that spans centuries and continents yet remains immediate and recognizable - humor and pain and insight that is unforgettable.

7 people found this helpful

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  • jose luna md
  • 15-09-20

must read must hear

every American should read this understand the plight of all immigrants no matter where they come from. This book was truly motivating I have already read twice

7 people found this helpful

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  • FRM
  • 05-09-20

Exceptional!

Great writing and even greater reading! That's for giving us a glimpse into Iranian culture

7 people found this helpful

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  • NATASHA K.
  • 31-03-21

Everything they say is true

I just finished "Everything Sad is Untrue" by Khosrou Daniel Nayeri, narrated by Khosrou Daniel Nayeri. He takes us through the memories of his childhood, inspired by Scheherazade, who told 1001 stories to stay alive and ultimately win the heart of the listener.
What can I say about this book that hasn't already been said? "Modern masterpiece" "Like nothing else you've read or ever will read." All those things are true. I guess all I can say is how it changed me. I also grew up as a first-generation immigrant in a mostly white area. So in many moments of the book, Khosrou was the friend I needed. Experiences, past and present, hurt less when you can laugh through them.

But I am a Muslim who freely left a Muslim majority country, unlike Nayeri. I was compelled to be "the god that listens", hearing the internal and external struggle of his mother. Holding my love for my religion but also holding the sad truth of what religion can do. Though Nayeri never states his religious beliefs, religion is a character in this story, the things we do for faith, and the things we lose due to religion. Nayeri captured it beautifully for a young audience, may we all find "a God who speaks and God who listens."

The story within the story that will always stay with me is the story of the refugee child. A story doesn't end.

Enough from me. Read this book. Have your children read this book.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Judy Love
  • 04-02-21

Great book!

This book was recommended by a friend. I usually steer clear of author read books because they can be really hard to listen to, but I took a chance and WOW! Am I glad I did! This book is something totally different a f absolutely enjoyable! Enjoy!!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-01-22

Did not like

Refund please- I bought this at the recommendation of a friend I believe in two hours in and really cannot do anymore.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rich S
  • 05-08-22

Borderline life-changing

I hope it's not hyperbole to say that I've quite possibly never read a book as interesting and well written as this one. Daniel was able to tell his stories in a way that is relatable to practically anybody who might listen, and intersperses the book with little bits of wisdom that he's learned throughout his life. I am so thankful that he took the time to write this book.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-08-22

This is NOT "Y.A." or Middle Grades Literature

Khosrou Daniel Nayeri expertly tells his tales in a form accessible to those younger readers. However, I think it sells this work short to place it in that genre. This book is a memoir of the highest quality. The author invites the reader into the internal life of his 5th grade self, not so that the reader will understand him or like him. He invited us in so that we will understand a little better what it is to be human and like humans a little more.