Book Review by Kids for Kids

Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas

Book Review by Julian, 12-years-old

This summer, I have an assignment from school to read Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America,a humorous memoir written by Firoozeh Dumas. At first, I was upset that I had to read it and I complained to my parents, “Why do I have a school assignment during summer vacation?” But, once I started reading the book, I didn’t want it to end.

When Firoozeh was seven-years-old she moved to America from Iran with her parents and two brothers. She describes the troubles she faced in a hysterical way. Although the book is funny, Firoozeh also effectively covers some serious topics such as the language barrier, religious controversy, female body image, and the impact of the Iranian hostage crisis.

She describes her first days of school and when she attends sleep-away camp when she was 11-years-old which was her first time away from her large and loving family. At 14, starts working jobs to earn funds for college, including a house-sitting and cat-sitting neurotic cats Ketchup, Mustard, Relish, and Mayo. At the University of California, Berkeley, she began dating a student from Paris, France. Anecdotes from their courtship and eventual marriage are great.

Although it’s a serious topic and her biggest hurdle, how she learned English is funny and she makes light of how Americans had trouble pronouncing her name let alone remembering it. She was forced to start school before she learned English. Her mother went to school with her on the first day of school and when the teacher asked Firrozeh’s mother to point out Iran on the map her mom didn’t know and Firoozeh was embarrassed.

One of her teenage jobs was house sitting. She went to water the pants and heard music in the parent’s bedroom. She thought there were robbers but didn’t know what to do. So, she actually finished watering the plants and then ran out of the house. When the neighbors came home they told her she just heard their clock radio alarm they forgot to turn off.

My favorite chapter in the book is after Firoozeh was married to her French husband they go on a trip to the Bahamas. They thought they were going on a relaxing trip only to find it was Spring Break for college students in America who took over the island.

Basically the entire book helps us see America from an immigrant’s perspective. The author has an amazing ability to see stressful situations as funny. This book is a great read for middle school students. If you thought you had a funny and strange life, this book will prove otherwise since most people haven’t had as crazy and as fun a life as Firoozeh Dumas.

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