Desert Roots is the true story of the author's parents who, after being self-imposed exiles from their native Iran for 33 years, decided to leave the United States and return to their homeland. In this family biography, Shavarini explores the issues that brought them to America-and eventually drew them back home again. The experiences of her family will help readers understand the struggles many Iranians-those living in Iran and abroad-have faced. Threaded throughout the story are universal themes that connect readers to the many characters within: a mother trying to raise her children in a new country, a father disappointed in what life ultimately has in store for him, immigrant children ashamed of their roots, and proud nationalist ancestors. Themes of loss, regret, and tragedy, as well as perseverance and resilience, are part of this book's broader narrative.