Saturday, July 12, 2008

Book Review: Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas

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:
  • Her reflections humanized Iranians
  • Her reflections were often amusing, especially those about her father, Kazem
  • Her observations about how Californian geography determined how well, or not, Iranian Americans were received -- I would like to know more about this
  • Her observations about how the treatment of Iranians in the US negatively changed after the Iranian Revolution and American hostage situation -- I would like to know more about this
  • Her discussion throughout, 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 (e.g. with Iranian culture and history, the treatment of her family who spoke little to no English, her mother) -- but I guess that wouldn't be funny either
  • I never found her writing to be "laugh out loud" funny as some of the positive reviewers at Amazon claimed it to be. Instead, I found it smile worthy but lacking the ability to pull off "laugh out loud" funny
Final thoughts:
Farsi was a good, not great, read. I do plan to read her new book, Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American, at Home and Abroad when it comes out in paperback.

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