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Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in Americaby Firoozeh Dumas
Synopses & Reviews
In 1972, when she was seven, Firoozeh Dumas and her family moved from Iran to Southern California, arriving with no firsthand knowledge of this country beyond her father's glowing memories of his graduate school years here. More family soon followed, and the clan has been here ever since.
Funny in Farsi chronicles the American journey of Dumas's wonderfully engaging family: her engineer father, a sweetly quixotic dreamer who first sought riches on Bowling for Dollars and in Las Vegas, and later lost his job during the Iranian revolution; her elegant mother, who never fully mastered English (nor cared to); her uncle, who combated the effects of American fast food with an army of miraculous American weight-loss gadgets; and Firoozeh herself, who as a girl changed her name to Julie, and who encountered a second wave of culture shock when she met and married a Frenchman, becoming part of a one-couple melting pot.
In a series of deftly drawn scenes, we watch the family grapple with American English (hot dogs and hush puppies — a complete mystery), American traditions (Thanksgiving turkey? — an even greater mystery, since it tastes like nothing), and American culture (Firoozeh's parents laugh uproariously at Bob Hope on television, although they don't get the jokes even when she translates them into Farsi).
Above all, this is an unforgettable story of identity, discovery, and the power of family love. It is a book that will leave us all laughing — without an accent.
"A humorous and introspective chronicle of a life filled with love — of family, country, and heritage." Jimmy Carter
"Dumas has a unique perspective on American culture, and she effortlessly balances the comedy of her family's misadventures with the more serious prejudices they face." Kristine Huntley, Booklist
"Today, as Middle Easterners in the United States are subject to racial profiling, stereotyping, and sometimes violence, this book provides a valuable glimpse into the immigrant experiences of one very entertaining family." Library Journal
"At all times, no matter how heavy the subject matter, Dumas keeps her tone light....Warm and engaging, despite some creaky prose." Kirkus Reviews
"The best parts will make readers laugh out loud....Despite unevenness, Dumas's first book remains a warm, witty and sometimes poignant look at cross-cultural misunderstanding and family life." Publishers Weekly
A warm, affectionate, and frequently hilarious memoir of growing up Iranian-American in Southern California. Funny in Farsi is above all an unforgettable story of identity, discovery, and the power of family love. It is a book that will leave readers laughing — without an accent.
About the Author
Firoozeh Dumas graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. She lives with her husband and children in Northern California.
Table of Contents
Leffingwell Elementary School 3
Hot Dogs and Wild Geese 8
In the Gutter 13
Save Me, Mickey 17
With a Little Help from My Friends 31
A Dozen Key Chains 42
You Can Call Me Al 50
Of Mosquitoes and Men 57
The "F Word" 62
America, Land of the Free 74
The Ham Amendment 82
Treasure Island 88
It's All Relatives 96
Me and Bob Hope 104
I Ran and I Ran and I Ran 111
I-raynians Need Not Apply 116
Girls Just Wanna Have Funds 122
Joyeuse Noelle 130
The Wedding 141
I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet 154
A Nose by Any Other Name 161
Judges Paid Off 167
If I Were a Rich Man 180
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