I just finished this memoir tonight. As with The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, this book was not merely a "read" but an experience that changes the reader, widening one's world view and deepening empathy for those who live with restricted freedoms and fear for physical and emotional safety on a daily basis.
It's a bit cerebral because Nafisi juxtaposes her life in Iran in the 1980s through the 1990s with novels she taught as a professor of Western literature. The book is eloquent and esoteric. Nafisi speaks to the issues of intellectual freedom, the importance of imagination, political and theocratic tyrannies, and although some might take offense at this phrase: radical Islam's war on women.
Even so, Nafisi's emotional attachment to and hope for her homeland and fellow Iranians, especially young women, is poignant.
Reading Lolita in Tehran is a combination memoir and literary/cultural/historial/religious study. And if you know any English majors, this would be a superbly thoughtful gift.