Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Funny in Farsi

Back in November when I attended the NCTE convention in Atlanta, one delight was hearing Firoozeh Dumas speak. Her book Funny in Farsi tells the story of her family that moved to California when she was in elementary school, long before the Shah's departure and the hostage crisis. She wrote the book, her memoirs, in part to show that we are all more alike than we are different.

In fact, when she first tried to pitch the book, she was told it didn't have enough oppression. Let me say up front, if you want heavy politics and oppression, this is not a book for you. On the other hand, if you want to enjoy a bookful of genuine laughs about quirky families, this may be your cup of tea. She covers the time from second grade until adulthood, including her marriage to a Frenchman whose family never did accept her. In her epilogue, she admits that the story became more about her father than she expected.

I was surprised to learn my younger son had read the book as a college assignment--and then gave the book to a friend. While this book might not give a complete, rounded picture of the Iranian immigrant experience, it gives a view that's been overlooked. Most of all, it's a great family story.

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