A middle schooler named Daniel was once a boy called Khosrou. And, oh, there’s quite a story behind that name change. When he’s tasked with sharing that tale with his teacher and middle school class, he does his best to hold tight to his memories, entertain the kids and build bridges of friendship with all he has to say. “If you listen, I’ll tell you a story,” he says. “We can know and be known to each other, and then we are not enemies anymore.”
As Daniel tells his tale, it becomes clear that in the beginning, it’s very much his mother’s story. Daniel/Khosrou was born into a wealthy family in Iran. There were many relatives and good family dinners. His father was a dentist, his mother a doctor. But then his mother went to her sister’s wedding in England and learned about Jesus, and everything changed. Formerly a committed Muslim, she decides to convert to Christianity. However, this is unthinkable for a pure-blood Sayyed like herself. In her world, being a Christian could amount to a death sentence.
Back in Iran, Mom joins the underground church but is soon found out. The secret police kidnap and threaten her. She’s given one week to stop believing and give up the names of the others in the underground church, or else they will kill her and her family. Instead, she takes her two children and flees Iran.
This is where the soon to be Daniel’s story begins to take shape. It’s a weaving, rambling set of yarns about his family making their way to a land called America: a carpet ride of beauty in the midst of pain. His tales are filled with anecdotes and family myths. And since Daniel aims to be entertaining, there are a few toilet-humored bits in his narration as well.
But ultimately, young Daniel weaves a tapestry tale of a brave mom who gave up everything—wealth, prestige, career and community—because she would not renounce her love for a Savior named Jesus.