Saturday, June 30, 2007

Funny in Farsi

A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America

I am not one much for middle grounds. Either I am among the first to read the new new book, or among the last, long after the buzz has moved on to a far distant land. And so it is that Funny in Farsi, published in 2003, has come to the top of my reading list. Firoozeh Dumas (she is married to a Frenchman) describes how her family came from the warm extended family network in Iran to the delights of California. Her affectionate ribbing of her family's maladjustment to American culture brings to mind My Big Fat Greek Wedding, only with Persian instead of Greek sensibilities.

I admit that I put off reading this for a long time because I have an innate distrust of best-selling memoirs; they tend to be dishonest, dysfunctional, or heavily populated with familial sex offenders. Fortunately, this one is the exception. The humor is charming, and the dysfunctionality is all in the culture clash, with nary a felon in sight. I can recommend this to anyone, and suggest locating a reprint with "a new final chapter," so you can get the epilogue.


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