“On Two Feet and Wings” By Abbas Kazerooni 

2feet“On Two Feet and Wings”
By Abbas Kazerooni
Narrated by: Abbas Kazerooni
Length: 4 hrs and 35 mins
Release date: 10-21-14
Publisher: Brilliance Audio

To an adult having the task of going to another country getting a taxi to go find a hotel, and then go to the British Embassy to apply for a visa doesn’t sound too bad.  But think of a 9 year-old doing this.  That’s exactly what needs to happen to young Abbas.  In his memoirs, Abbas Kazarooni, takes us on a journey in his world where he was forced to go to Istanbul, Turkey (where he doesn’t speak the language) to avoid being shipped off to fight the Iran/Iraq war.

The Ayatollahs have lowered the draft age to 10 years old and Abbas’ parents, who were once upper class during the Shah’s regime, don’t want to lose their son to the war and would rather take him to England where he can get an education instead of dying.  The family sells everything they own to go on this sudden trip.

Once the family arrives at the airport the officials stop Abbas’ mother from leaving the country.  This seems to be only politically motivated to punish Abbas’ family and to keep them from leaving.  Instead the family makes one of the most difficult decisions one would ever have to make.  They decide to send their 9 year old son (soon to be 10) on the trip.

Young Abbas already has a bit of a reputation of being able to work with what he’s given, and this trip is about to test his spirit.  Carrying with him thousands of US dollars (they are better for converting to local currency), Abbas must first find a hotel where he can stay.

The cab driver at the airport feels for young Abbas and helps him to secure a hotel room where he won’t get ripped off.  Abbas also finds a friend in the Hotel manager/owner that helps along the way.

Abbas then has to find a black market money exchange (black market because of better rates).  This has to be done with caution because a 9 year old can be easily ripped off or worse in the city of Istanbul.

Then to top it all off he has to go to the British Embassy in Istanbul to apply for a visa.  This all takes place within a couple of months.  Abbas makes some friends, creates opportunities for himself and even has a few bad scrapes, but the adventure is the day to day struggle of a young boy navigating a foreign land.

This book will not have you feeling pity but rather amazement for what a young boy or rather THIS young boy can do.

Publisher’s Summary
He is in a foreign country, he is alone, and he is just a boy.… Abbas Kazerooni is not yet 10, but he’s suddenly forced to leave his parents, his friends – his entire world – and flee Tehran. The Iran-Iraq war is at its bloodiest, and the Ayatollahs who rule Iran have reduced the recruitment age for the army. If Abbas doesn’t escape, it’s almost certain that he will be drafted and die fighting for a regime that has stripped his family of all they have.

On his own in the strange, often frightening city of Istanbul, Abbas grows up fast – with little more than his wits to guide him. He must conquer difficult things: how to live on his own, how to navigate a foreign city and culture when he doesn’t speak the language, and, most importantly, how to judge who is a friend and who is an enemy. Facing the unexpected as well as the everyday challenges of life on his own, Abbas walks a tightrope of survival – yearning to please the demanding father he has left behind, yet relishing his new found independence.

His quick thinking, entrepreneurial spirit, and the kindness of strangers allow him to make the best of his dire situation in surprising ways. Does he have what it takes to not only survive against these challenging odds but achieve his parents’ ultimate dream for him: a visa to England, and the safety it represents?

This compelling true story of one young boy’s courage provides a powerful child’s-eye view of war, political tumult, and survival.

©2011 Abbas Kazerooni (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.