Reading Guide

What did you learn from this account of the Iranian revolution? Have any of your perceptions of Iran or of Muslim life changed?

Among the challenges the Andalibians faced was adapting to British and then American culture. What insights did their journey give you into the immigrant experience?

Each family member grieved the loss of Abdollah in his or her own way. What were the effects of the different coping styles?

Which family member most resonated with you and why?

To which scene did you have the strongest emotional reaction? What thoughts and feelings came up for you?

In times of tragedy, children are often “protected” from the truth. Do you think Baba and Maman’s decision to hide Abdollah’s death from his siblings was the right one at the time?

What were your impressions of Baba and Maman’s relationship? What do you see as the strengths and the weaknesses?

What do you think of Rahimeh’s decision to wear her head scarf at the age of six? Her decision to take it off in her 20s?

What do you think of Baba’s reaction to Rahimeh’s removal of her head scarf and decision to marry outside her culture and religion? Think of a choice you’ve made with which your loved ones disagreed. How did you explain your decision to them? Were you able to stay connected with them?

After suffering the loss of Abdollah, the Andalibians nearly lost their other sons to a different kind of revolution in California. How does the family begin to heal?

Have you experienced trauma or an especially difficult period in your life? What about a significant conflict with someone you love? If there was resolution, how was it achieved?

One of the themes in The Rose Hotel is family secrets and the shame and guilt that often accompany them. Think about your own family: What secrets do you share? Have they ever been addressed? What would happen if the secrets were brought out into the open?

The Rose Hotel is also about the impact of social and political events on the day-to-day life of one family. Consider your own history: What broader events have influenced you and your family on a personal level (for example, presidential policies, cultural traumas, recessions)?

What does this book say to you about religion, politics, and power?

What universal truths can you find in this book?