The Sky Detective
A well-respected scientist shares her story of life before and during the 70s Iranian revolution, her escape from the country, and her reception of a prestigious award.
In The Sky Detective, Azadeh Tabazadeh receives a chemistry kit from her favorite uncle, sparking a love of science that will eventually lead to her flight from her home country. Tabazadeh grew up in a time of prosperity with wealthy parents and a loving home. As most girls, she loves her family, spending time with friends, and has an infectious love of learning. Unfortunately, the shah is overthrown, and the new regime is violent and bloody. She loses the friendship of her friend, which masterfully highlights the difference in classes. Her schooling, despite some very dedicated teachers, soon falls apart as the new regime begins to oppress women. Tabazadeh is forced to wear the body-covering chador, which is the final straw. She is unable to learn, unable to spend time with her precious friends, and now she cannot be a happy and festive young woman. Her family agrees to let her accompany her brother and cousin as they flee military service. This leads to a tumultuous escape through stark landscapes and corrupt officials. Once free in America, Tabazadeh rises through the ranks to earn the respect of her peers and the recognition from the community at large, even President Clinton.
The main appeal of this memoir is Tabazadeh’s backward-looking narrative. She recounts the story through the POV of a child and young woman, but with the gravity and disappointment of an adult. While remaining firmly in the present moment of her past, The Sky Detective is engaging and captivating. Her journey highlights the nature of a society many Westerners are unfamiliar with, adding a layer of dimension that increases the readability of the memoir. The only downside is the lack of information after she lands in America. It would be fascinating to follow her through earning degrees and the respect of the scientific community. Her infectious curiosity and innate talent shines through the eyes of her younger self and captures readers’ intention for a truly amazing read.
READ our interview with the author.