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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America, Firoozeh Dumas Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America is a 2003 memoir by Iranian American author Firoozeh Dumas. The book describes Dumas's move with her family in 1972, at age seven, from Iran to Whittier, California, and her life in the United States for the next several decades (with a brief return to Iran). The book describes adjusting to the different culture and dealing with her extended family, most of whom also Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America, Firoozeh Dumas Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America is a 2003 memoir by Iranian American author Firoozeh Dumas. The book describes Dumas's move with her family in 1972, at age seven, from Iran to Whittier, California, and her life in the United States for the next several decades (with a brief return to Iran). The book describes adjusting to the different culture and dealing with her extended family, most of whom also moved to the U.S. in the 1970's. It was Dumas's first book. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه ژوئن سال 2006میلادی عنوان: عطر سنبل عطر کاج؛ نویسنده: فیروزه جزایری دوما؛ مترجم: محمد سلیمانی نیا؛ تهران، قصه، چاپ پنجم تا هشتم 1385؛ در 192ص؛ شابک 9645776627؛ چاپهای نهم تا دوازدهم 1386؛ چهاردهم تا شانزدهم 1387؛ چاپهای هفدهم تا هجدهم 1388؛ موضوع سرگذشتنامه زنانی ایرانی تبار - سده 21م عطر سنبل، نماد نوروز، و عطر کاج، نماد کریستمس است؛ سرکار خانم «فیروزه جزایری دوما» در این کتاب از زندگی ایرانی می‌گوید، از تقابل فرهنگ ایرانی و غربی، از تفاوت بوی خوش سنبلِ سفره ی هفت سین، و عطر کاجِ کریسمس، از سنت‌های ایرانی و اصالت‌هایش و تفاوت آن با زندگی مدرن آمریکایی با تمام امکاناتش، و تمام این تفاوت‌ها را با سادگی هر چه تمام‌تر همراه با چاشنی طنز به گونه‌ ای بیان می‌کنند که به کسی برنخورد نقل از کتاب: «سال‌هایی که در برکلی بودم، با فرانسوا آشنا شدم، مردی فرانسوی، که بعدها شوهرم شد، در زمان دوستی با او، متوجه شدم، زندگی من چقدر ناعادلانه بگذشته؛ فرانسوی بودن در آمریکا، مثل این است، که اجازه‌ ی ورود به همه جا را، روی پیشانیت چسبانده باشند؛ فرانسوا، کافی بود اسم آشکارا فرانسوی‌ خویش را، بگوید، تا مردم او را، جالب توجه بدانند؛ فرض بر این بود، که او روشنفکری ست حساس، و کتاب خوانده، و هنگامی که مشغول زمزمه‌ ی اشعار «بودلر» نیست، وقتش را با خلق نقاشی‌های امپرسیونیستی می‌گذراند.» پایان نقل از کتاب تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 07/07/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  2. 4 out of 5

    da AL

    A big-hearted account for anyone who's ever been embarrassed about their parents, of being between cultures, of being a teen, all the above -- or who wants to understand what it might be like! Read this when it first came out & much enjoyed it. Especially loved a later NPR interview with author Dumas, where she noted that people are always intrigued by her French husband's accent, yet not so much hers... A big-hearted account for anyone who's ever been embarrassed about their parents, of being between cultures, of being a teen, all the above -- or who wants to understand what it might be like! Read this when it first came out & much enjoyed it. Especially loved a later NPR interview with author Dumas, where she noted that people are always intrigued by her French husband's accent, yet not so much hers...

  3. 4 out of 5

    J.L. Sutton

    I enjoyed Firoozeh Dumas's Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America. While this is a story of one specific family acclimating to life in the U.S., there were many familiar themes common to the immigrant experience. Dumas's style is easy to follow and what she writes should be accessible to any age. All of that is good. Still, there was a disconnect for me which probably has more to do with my expectations. Despite the title, Dumas doesn't try to make everything funny; however, s I enjoyed Firoozeh Dumas's Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America. While this is a story of one specific family acclimating to life in the U.S., there were many familiar themes common to the immigrant experience. Dumas's style is easy to follow and what she writes should be accessible to any age. All of that is good. Still, there was a disconnect for me which probably has more to do with my expectations. Despite the title, Dumas doesn't try to make everything funny; however, she treats everything with a light touch. There was a passing nod to the Iranian Revolution and her family's inability to return to their homeland, but very little about what the revolution was about or the real impact it had. Likewise, the serious challenges of growing up as an immigrant, if it didn't make for a somewhat amusing story, were either dropped or glossed over. There were a couple of things at the very end which resonated with me, though. In talking about the writing of the book, Dumas says that everyone's story counts. I absolutely agree. I also liked her final scene which showed her parents' reaction to her book talk; it fit how she had presented them and made me smile.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    The news has been full of talk about immigration. Saw this book and thought it was an appropriate book considering the political environment. Firoozeh came to Whittier, California from Abadan, Iran when she was seven years old. She told of her first day at elementary school. The children and teacher did not know where Iran was. She says her father told her America was a kind and orderly nation full of clean bathrooms. When she came home from school, she thought her father was correct the American The news has been full of talk about immigration. Saw this book and thought it was an appropriate book considering the political environment. Firoozeh came to Whittier, California from Abadan, Iran when she was seven years old. She told of her first day at elementary school. The children and teacher did not know where Iran was. She says her father told her America was a kind and orderly nation full of clean bathrooms. When she came home from school, she thought her father was correct the Americans were kind to her and the bathrooms were very clean. The author told funny stories about trying to learn English. She described the Iranian culture and how it differs from American culture. She told of the change of attitude toward her and her family after the Iranian Revolt and hostage taking. Her father lost his job and pension because of the crisis and they had to sell all their belongings. Her father eventually found another job at half the salary of his previous job. They were vilified and had trouble adapting to the hatred. She married a Frenchman and had to learn about another culture. Toward the end of the book, she told about the U.S. citizens who shirk their civic duties. Her father told her they needed to live six months in a nondemocratic country and then they would vote. The book is well written in a most humorous style. She had humorous vignettes about her family in various cultural situations. The book was a finalist for the PEN/USA award and the Thurber Prize. The author did a good job narratoring the book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Samaneh Abdoli

    I read farsi translated of this book (عطر سنبل/عطر کاج). It was percet. It really deserved the funniest book prize in US. I will buy the english version and read it again. Most of the time reading I were in stitches. I could not control my laughing even in my doctor's waiting room and sometimes my laughing ended to cry! I really recommend to read this book. I hope you enjoy as much as I did. I read farsi translated of this book (عطر سنبل/عطر کاج). It was percet. It really deserved the funniest book prize in US. I will buy the english version and read it again. Most of the time reading I were in stitches. I could not control my laughing even in my doctor's waiting room and sometimes my laughing ended to cry! I really recommend to read this book. I hope you enjoy as much as I did.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy

    When I mentioned to my daughter the librarian that I needed something light to read after some of my recent reading, she recommended Firoozeh Dumas' Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America. Ms. Dumas had attended a Houston Library event within the past year and my daughter just happened to have an autographed copy of the book that she would lend me. She guaranteed that it would make me laugh. It did make me smile, chuckle, and once or twice even laugh out loud. It is a charming When I mentioned to my daughter the librarian that I needed something light to read after some of my recent reading, she recommended Firoozeh Dumas' Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America. Ms. Dumas had attended a Houston Library event within the past year and my daughter just happened to have an autographed copy of the book that she would lend me. She guaranteed that it would make me laugh. It did make me smile, chuckle, and once or twice even laugh out loud. It is a charming memoir of Ms. Dumas' family's coming to America a few years before the Iranian Revolution and the taking of the American hostages in Tehran. Her father, an engineer, was the family pioneer who had been to this country before as a college student on a Fulbright Scholarship. He loved the country and wanted to come back and eventually he did, bringing his family with him. They found a welcome here, even though they learned that most Americans did not seem to know what or where Iran was and seemed to not have a clue as to how to pronounce the country's name. Honestly, what is so difficult about ear-rahn? One has to suspect that the mispronunciation is a deliberate insult. But perhaps it isn't. The ignorance of people can be truly astounding. And that was one of the things about this book which didn't make me smile or chuckle at all. Again and again, the anecdotes that the writer tells reveal Americans' appalling ignorance about the world and their gross provincialism. This does not at all seem to be the aim or point of her stories which are always told with love and humor, but I couldn't help focusing on those aspects nevertheless. Perhaps my point of view was colored by my concern about the poor quality of the education that so many American children receive. Living in Texas where our Board (or is that Bored?) of Education insists that all textbooks be put to a political litmus test has perhaps made me overly sensitive to this issue. At any rate, the family came to America and were busily living the American dream when the revolution came and changed everything. They went overnight from being honored guests to pariahs. Her father lost his job and the family endured some lean times before the hostage crisis ended and things began to return to normal. But this is a family of high achievers, like so many immigrant families, and nothing could keep them down for long. In the end, most of the extended family that had remained in Iran joined the author and her parents and brothers in this country, and judging by these warm and wonderful stories, our country is much the richer for their presence here.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    Currently, I am on a Middle East kick, so to speak. I read Kite Runner last year and finished A Thousand Splendid Suns last week. I began a mission to find books about the Middle East and found an interview with Khaled Hosseini where he recommended this book; thus, off to the library I went and took it out along with Lipstick Jihad. Overall, it is a light read. Each chapter is a separate story. The author takes the reader through her childhood up until she is a married woman with children. I laug Currently, I am on a Middle East kick, so to speak. I read Kite Runner last year and finished A Thousand Splendid Suns last week. I began a mission to find books about the Middle East and found an interview with Khaled Hosseini where he recommended this book; thus, off to the library I went and took it out along with Lipstick Jihad. Overall, it is a light read. Each chapter is a separate story. The author takes the reader through her childhood up until she is a married woman with children. I laughed out loud (LOL for those of you who only understand IM Language - sorry couldn't help myself) reading several passages about her father and his inherent thriftiness. The book is a fast read and I probably finished it within hours, much to my disappointment. Beside the humourous bits about her father, I felt warmed (?) by the closeness of the author's huge extended family. I would recommend this book to those who enjoyed Khaled Hosseini's books but don't expect the same depth or quqlity of writing that you found in Mr. Hosseini's books. Take the book to the beach for a charming read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    What a fun read! Delightful! The style reminded me a bit of Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. Alright so Firoozeh Dumas is Iranian and a woman, but the humorous vignettes and inclusion of family were certainly reminiscent of that style. It was a thoroughly enjoyable book and I happened to learn some interesting information about Iran and immigrants and Iranian culture along the way. Voila!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Belhor Crowley

    I think maybe if I wasn't Iranian myself, or if I was an eight year old, I would have found this book more interesting to read, but since I am both Iranian and pretty damn old (inside more than outside), Mrs. Dumas' normal and mostly boring life (specially the married part) didn't interest me all that much. I did struggle and kept reading until the end of it though. I'm sure this would have made a best seller 100 years ago, when people knew little about other cultures and things like a mispronou I think maybe if I wasn't Iranian myself, or if I was an eight year old, I would have found this book more interesting to read, but since I am both Iranian and pretty damn old (inside more than outside), Mrs. Dumas' normal and mostly boring life (specially the married part) didn't interest me all that much. I did struggle and kept reading until the end of it though. I'm sure this would have made a best seller 100 years ago, when people knew little about other cultures and things like a mispronounced name or misunderstood table manners would have seemed insanely funny or cute. So many five stars though. It's a damn shame!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Shores

    DEFINITELY a cool story! :) I was married to an Iranian back in the 80s and Firoozeh's memoir brought back so many funny memories. Although my ex was in college when we met and his family did not live in the U.S., their influence was always felt. I learned by experience that (among other things) a visit from your Iranian in-laws did, indeed, last for a season and that meal prep began in the morning and lasted all day. Firoozeh's father is awesome! I know there is absolutely NO similarity between t DEFINITELY a cool story! :) I was married to an Iranian back in the 80s and Firoozeh's memoir brought back so many funny memories. Although my ex was in college when we met and his family did not live in the U.S., their influence was always felt. I learned by experience that (among other things) a visit from your Iranian in-laws did, indeed, last for a season and that meal prep began in the morning and lasted all day. Firoozeh's father is awesome! I know there is absolutely NO similarity between the two stories; however, in thinking about how to best describe him, all I could think of were the words “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. His boundless optimism was truly inspirational. There were so many quotes of his that I hope to remember in the future. This one is a favorite: “It's not what we eat or don't eat that makes us good people; it's how we treat one another. As you grow older, you'll find that people of every religion think they're the best, but that's not true. There are good and bad people in every religion. Just because someone is Muslim, Jewish, or Christian doesn't mean a thing. You have to look and see what's in their hearts. That's the only thing that matters, and that's the only detail God cares about.” I felt envious of Firoozeh's large extended family and their closeness, and it made me wish I had met them when they first moved to Southern California. I love how they supported and encouraged each other and the pride they exhibited in each other's accomplishments. In the past, the only memoirs I've read were by musicians or movie stars. This story will make me rethink my future choices as I found Funny in Farsi far more entertaining and uplifting than any celebrity drama could possibly be. And I will end with this gem... “Any gift from a true friend is valuable, even if it’s a hollow walnut shell.”

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    This is a wonderful memoir, at times I laughed at loud, at other times I learned. Sometimes I thought "a version of this happens in my (non-immigrant) family." Towards the end I thought, "I just love Firoozeh's father." Who can resist someone who embraces life with his arms wide open and who does good where he can? This is a wonderful memoir, at times I laughed at loud, at other times I learned. Sometimes I thought "a version of this happens in my (non-immigrant) family." Towards the end I thought, "I just love Firoozeh's father." Who can resist someone who embraces life with his arms wide open and who does good where he can?

  12. 5 out of 5

    shakespeareandspice

    Review originally posted on A Skeptical Reader. Funny in Farsi is a memoir about the author, Firoozeh Dumas, moving from Iran to America when she was seven-years-old. The memoir is a collection of light and enjoyable tales of her and her family’s experience living in a foreign land with barely the ability to speak the language properly. The memoir balances the good with the bad perfectly, sharing both the more serious concerns of immigrants as well as the more boisterous periods of adjustment. Som Review originally posted on A Skeptical Reader. Funny in Farsi is a memoir about the author, Firoozeh Dumas, moving from Iran to America when she was seven-years-old. The memoir is a collection of light and enjoyable tales of her and her family’s experience living in a foreign land with barely the ability to speak the language properly. The memoir balances the good with the bad perfectly, sharing both the more serious concerns of immigrants as well as the more boisterous periods of adjustment. Some of my favorite stories were of her father and his attempts to acclimate himself to the American environment. In one of the stories, she tells us of her father trying a get-rich-fast scheme by going on live TV to compete in a show and then raising his fists full of reasons of how the circumstances were against him from the start. Equally, I also loved reading about her own experiences starting American school where the students didn’t seem to have a clue as to where Iran was even located on a map. As she grows older, she also talks about the changes in USA’s perception of Iran and how the differences in cultures often became intense, and later how she would meet her husband and absorbing yet another culture. The memoir is about what it means to be an Iranian and an American as well as an Iranian American. Funny in Farsi is charming, quirky, and delightful read. As the antagonism towards immigrants from the Middle East grows across Europe and Northern America, perhaps immigration stories such as this are the best way to dispel the hatred and reach a more tolerant understanding of the ‘other’.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Settare (on hiatus)

    “Fritzy, Fritzy DumbAss!” =))) Oh my good god, this is one of my most effective sadness treatments, I've read it dozens of times, both the original English one and the translated Farsi edition, both of which are hilarious in their own ways. It's one of those rare books that make me laugh my ass off, out loud, literally. I love it! “Fritzy, Fritzy DumbAss!” =))) Oh my good god, this is one of my most effective sadness treatments, I've read it dozens of times, both the original English one and the translated Farsi edition, both of which are hilarious in their own ways. It's one of those rare books that make me laugh my ass off, out loud, literally. I love it!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shiloah

    I loved every moment with this book. These memoirs opened my eyes to a culture I had never known anything about. Her humor was delightful. She kept me laughing constantly. This ended up becoming a couples read as my husband enjoyed it as much as I. This is one I will reread just for the pleasure of it. Now I'm dying for some lentil rice. I loved every moment with this book. These memoirs opened my eyes to a culture I had never known anything about. Her humor was delightful. She kept me laughing constantly. This ended up becoming a couples read as my husband enjoyed it as much as I. This is one I will reread just for the pleasure of it. Now I'm dying for some lentil rice.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sakshi Kathuria

    I couldn’t have started with a better book ringing in the New Year. Review to come soon !!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    A humorous collection of stories about a young Iranian immigrant to the United States as she deals with her parents and new life, from elementary school to her marriage. A wonderful addition to the growing body of immigrant literature, there are heartwarming and funny tales of her father’s frugality, people’s kindnesses and ignorance, memories of family and homeland. There are plenty of insights into Iranian culture, both overseas and in America, as well as simple family dynamics, told with a hu A humorous collection of stories about a young Iranian immigrant to the United States as she deals with her parents and new life, from elementary school to her marriage. A wonderful addition to the growing body of immigrant literature, there are heartwarming and funny tales of her father’s frugality, people’s kindnesses and ignorance, memories of family and homeland. There are plenty of insights into Iranian culture, both overseas and in America, as well as simple family dynamics, told with a humorous view. Her experience visiting Paris is delightful, as is the story of her father’s incompetent repair skills. Anyone interested in a quick laugh should pick up this book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    K M

    An entertaining read. The author moved with her family from Iran to Southern California when she was 7 years old, just a few years before the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The book provides a light-hearted, interesting glimpse into the Iranian culture, and how immigrants adjust to American "pop" culture. There are parts that could have been quite sad, but the author clearly focused on the entertaining, upbeat side of each adventure. An entertaining read. The author moved with her family from Iran to Southern California when she was 7 years old, just a few years before the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The book provides a light-hearted, interesting glimpse into the Iranian culture, and how immigrants adjust to American "pop" culture. There are parts that could have been quite sad, but the author clearly focused on the entertaining, upbeat side of each adventure.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Shepherd

    "Ever since we had arrived in the United States, my classmates kept asking me about magic carpets. 'They don't exist,' I always said. I was wrong. Magic carpets do exist, but they are called library cards." At the tender age of seven, Firoozeh and her family moved from Abadan, Iran to Southern California, and we, her readers, will never be quite the same. There is an abundance of humor and love and warmth here. This is a treasure worthy of more stars than Goodreads will allow. "Ever since we had arrived in the United States, my classmates kept asking me about magic carpets. 'They don't exist,' I always said. I was wrong. Magic carpets do exist, but they are called library cards." At the tender age of seven, Firoozeh and her family moved from Abadan, Iran to Southern California, and we, her readers, will never be quite the same. There is an abundance of humor and love and warmth here. This is a treasure worthy of more stars than Goodreads will allow.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rosa

    Very sweet and funny!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shokufeh شکوفه Kavani کاوانی

    The Persian Version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding............

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ali Sattari

    It was a nice read with some good laughs along. Since I am an Iranian, I couldn't resist relating with characters and feeling so close to situations. It was a nice read with some good laughs along. Since I am an Iranian, I couldn't resist relating with characters and feeling so close to situations.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Here's the run down: Firoozeh Dumas is an Iranian who immigrated to the US in the early 1970's. Dumas' collection of biographical essays examine her life in the US, specifically California, from the time she arrives until she marries, starts a family of her own, and writes the book. Here's what I liked about the book: How her reflections humanized Iranians, Her amusing reflections, especially about her father, Kazem, Her observations about how Californian geography determined how well, or not, I Here's the run down: Firoozeh Dumas is an Iranian who immigrated to the US in the early 1970's. Dumas' collection of biographical essays examine her life in the US, specifically California, from the time she arrives until she marries, starts a family of her own, and writes the book. Here's what I liked about the book: How her reflections humanized Iranians, Her amusing reflections, especially about her father, Kazem, Her observations about how Californian geography determined how well, or not, Iranian Americans were received, Her observations about how the treatment of Iranians in the US negatively changed after the Iranian Revolution and American hostage situation, and Her discussion, albeit superficial, about Iranian culture. Here's what I didn't like about the book: Dumas completely ignored the opportunities she had to go deeper (with Iranian culture and history, the treatment of her family who spoke little to no English, her mother-- to name a few--but I guess that wouldn't be funny either), her writing is mediocre(at times it felt like I a was reading the unpolished ramblings of a small-time columnist), it wasn't very funny (at least as funny as I had hoped for).

  23. 5 out of 5

    Em*bedded-in-books*

    this was an amazing book. I am truly glad to have read it. I really could relate with the author and her parents. Even mine have many similarities. My dad, though very affluent, has this has this habit of scrimping and doing things on his own, my mother though highly literate, has stayed back home to look after me and my brother, gladly giving up a highly renown job. They love us to bits, and consider us as kids even now. My eyes teared up to read the post-script. This book proves that parental this was an amazing book. I am truly glad to have read it. I really could relate with the author and her parents. Even mine have many similarities. My dad, though very affluent, has this has this habit of scrimping and doing things on his own, my mother though highly literate, has stayed back home to look after me and my brother, gladly giving up a highly renown job. They love us to bits, and consider us as kids even now. My eyes teared up to read the post-script. This book proves that parental love is unconditioned, in a world where we hear of honor killings and suppression of female freedom which are usually culture and custom related, and not limited only to a single religion or sect, but is seen worldwide, especially in Asia. I applaud the parents who let their kids choose on their own, and stood by them, no matter what. The best thing was, heartrending things were told in simple, humorous voice, which made me laugh out loud at times. I would recommend this book to all and sundry.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Siria

    Firoozeh Dumas' memoir is a light and fitfully amusing read, but one which I felt missed an opportunity to dig a bit deeper into the experience of being an Iranian immigrant to California in the early 1970s. This is not to say that just because she's of Iranian background that Dumas was required to write about the political and cultural ramifications of the Revolution, but the careful way that she avoids any really tricky topics means that she also misses out on the opportunity to say anything t Firoozeh Dumas' memoir is a light and fitfully amusing read, but one which I felt missed an opportunity to dig a bit deeper into the experience of being an Iranian immigrant to California in the early 1970s. This is not to say that just because she's of Iranian background that Dumas was required to write about the political and cultural ramifications of the Revolution, but the careful way that she avoids any really tricky topics means that she also misses out on the opportunity to say anything that's going to linger much with the reader once the last page is turned. There's also a distracting little vein of internalised misogyny, and the essay about the ugly nose (per Dumas) of one woman who's a total stranger to her (but about whom Dumas includes enough identifying information for someone who works at Berkeley to find out her name) left a nasty taste in my mouth.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ferial Fattahi

    I enjoyed reading this book more than I would’ve imagined! The stories are written in a scattered way but still somehow managed to take you away with enthusiasm. I think the sense of being an outsider in any circumstances can make you feel quite lonely; Sometimes you can even feel like an outsider in your motherland, this book however is not limited to Iranian migrants around the world but I do believe by all means it can address the whole world. I highly recommend reading this book as you will I enjoyed reading this book more than I would’ve imagined! The stories are written in a scattered way but still somehow managed to take you away with enthusiasm. I think the sense of being an outsider in any circumstances can make you feel quite lonely; Sometimes you can even feel like an outsider in your motherland, this book however is not limited to Iranian migrants around the world but I do believe by all means it can address the whole world. I highly recommend reading this book as you will enjoy the laugh out loud moments along with life lessons in a most casual way. Love to read more of Firoozeh Dumas in near future.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nathalie

    The title pretty much tells you all about the book! I really enjoyed this book. It was funny but made you think at the same time. Made me think and hope that I would have befriended the new girl from Iran. This is especially good to read post 9/11. It shows you just a normal family who happens to come from Iran--their hopes, dreams, fears, rejections. It makes you wish that we could just all get along and enjoy what makes us the same and what makes us different.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Megan Olsen

    This was heartwarming and hilarious. Loved her wonderful relationship with her family members, and her positive, resilient attitude about hardships her family has faced. Highly recommend.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laleh

    A story of language barriers and cultural differences, this book could be the memoir of any Iranian who has spent any amount of time in a Western country. While the book had a slight tone of condescension which tickled me a bit, it was nonetheless a lighthearted, enjoyable read

  29. 5 out of 5

    Holly Scudero

    Firoozeh Dumas first moved to America when she was seven. Her first stay was experienced as a novelty; she was a foreigner and all the other kids readily accepted her, despite her limited English and her unpronounceable name (or possibly because of it). Two years later, her family moved back to Iran, where her father worked in the petroleum business. They moved back to Southern California again after the Iranian revolution, and their second coming was met with all the suspicion and hostility tha Firoozeh Dumas first moved to America when she was seven. Her first stay was experienced as a novelty; she was a foreigner and all the other kids readily accepted her, despite her limited English and her unpronounceable name (or possibly because of it). Two years later, her family moved back to Iran, where her father worked in the petroleum business. They moved back to Southern California again after the Iranian revolution, and their second coming was met with all the suspicion and hostility that many Americans still have towards people from the Middle East. Eventually a good deal of the author's family ended up in America as well, and, surrounded by family and good intentions, Firoozeh made herself a home. "Funny in Farsi" is a collection of vignettes, in seemingly no particular order, about Firoozeh life. It includes funny stories as well as sad and scary stories, which are funny now in the retelling. Many of the stories center around her father, a wise man who taught her many things, the least of which was how to not let life get you down. Most of the stories center around some sort of life lesson or coming-of-age moment. I giggled out loud a few times, and found myself tearing up a few times. "Funny in Farsi" is full of all sorts of little gems of wisdom, many passed down by the author's father, many learned through life experience. On the importance of family: "Without my relatives, I am but a thread; together, we form a colorful and elaborate Persian carpet." On voting: "Any immigrant who comes to this country and becomes a citizen and doesn't vote, according to [her father], should just go back." On religion: "It's not what we eat or don't eat that makes us good people; it's how we treat one another... There are good and bad people in every religion... You have to look and see what's in their hearts." On learning to swim: "I was my father's Waterloo." On her mother's assimilation to American culture: "My mother was, in American adolescent vernacular, out of it." On her parents' constant worrying: "If worrying were an Olympic sport, my parents' faces would have graced the Wheaties box a long time ago." On her father's skills with the English language: "My father's inability to understand spoken English was matched only by his efforts to deny the problem." On spreading holiday cheer in the form of baked clay wreaths: "The first, second, and third recipients of my holiday cheer showed the same facial expression, bewilderment coupled with lower back strain." I could go on. I absolutely loved this book. It was best taken in short doses, since there wasn't any real discernible timeline, and it could be a bit off-putting to read long stretches of mostly unrelated stories that went forward and backward in time. I was able to identify with the author more than one would think considering the differences in our childhoods; a lot of her stories transcend cultures. I think I will have to go back and re-read this book before too long, some of the stories merit a second go. A great, light-hearted collection.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Barbara (The Bibliophage)

    Originally published at TheBibliophage.com. Firoozeh Dumas’ memoir about growing up Iranian in California, Funny in Farsi, is a lighthearted look at her 1970s and 80s immigrant experience. Imagine moving to a country where you don’t speak the language, and everyone is geographically challenged with no idea of where your home country is located on the globe. While Dumas isn’t the only person to have such an experience, she makes her story unique with humor and pathos. Her father figures as the larg Originally published at TheBibliophage.com. Firoozeh Dumas’ memoir about growing up Iranian in California, Funny in Farsi, is a lighthearted look at her 1970s and 80s immigrant experience. Imagine moving to a country where you don’t speak the language, and everyone is geographically challenged with no idea of where your home country is located on the globe. While Dumas isn’t the only person to have such an experience, she makes her story unique with humor and pathos. Her father figures as the largest character in the memoir, sometimes surpassing the author herself with his quirky attitudes and behaviors. Dumas’ dad thinks he’s going to win a million dollars, and he loves the adulation he gets from his family around the world. But he’s also supportive of his kids, his nieces and nephews, and seems like a genuinely warmhearted guy. Everybody has an uncle or a dad like this—maybe both, like I do! Lately I’ve tried to read more books about the immigrant experience, since my family is many generations distant from ours. There are multitudes of experiences I’d like to understand more about, and reading is the best way to learn IMHO. Funny in Farsi isn’t a book that sets out to teach others. It isn’t heavy on conclusions or politics. Instead, Dumas let’s you draw those conclusions yourself as she shares her memories. Let me be clear, I’m not saying this approach is better or worse, it’s just different from a book like In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero. And that’s okay. Dumas has a period in her teenage years where she decides to be called “Julie” because her Persian name is a constant challenge to people who don’t speak Persian. When I read this, I had to laugh because several of my husband’s family members have two names like this—one Anglo and one Japanese. In Dumas’ case it was fairly short lived, and part of her story is about the challenge of transitioning back to her Persian first name. Lest you think the whole book is funny, know that Dumas also discusses the impact of the Iranian Revolution and the hostage crisis on her life. Everything changed for her family as these events unfolded. Their financial position, and especially the way their family was viewed here in America. Imagine watching the news for those hundreds of hostage days, and knowing this was happening in your country. Dumas tells this part of her story with an astute perspective. Dumas has an easy writing style and an authentic voice. I’d absolutely pick up another of her books, especially another audiobook. Although she’s not a professional narrator, Dumas does a great job of telling her stories. And you can be sure she always pronounces her name correctly!

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