Narrator: Firoozeh Dumas
Published by Audible Studios, Random House Trade Paperbacks on 24 March 2004
Length: 5 hours, 44 minutes
Source: Purchased through Audible
Thoughts: This summer I took a class called Cross-Cultural Education. As part of this class, we were assigned small group literature circles where we had to read a book about another culture. My group chose Funny In Farsi by Faroozeh Dumas. I don’t think any of those in my group expected to enjoy assigned reading this much. I loved this book so much that I bought a hard copy to keep on my classroom shelf and will definitely be reading the sequel. I really can’t recommend this book enough.
Dumas is a skilled writer. She had me laughing out loud throughout the whole book, and I came to really love her and her family. Sometimes when I read fiction, I get really sad at the end because I know the characters aren’t real (Seriously, the world needs Weasleys). However, because this is a memoir, the family is real and I knew the world was a better place for having them in it. I loved the stories of Dumas and her family navigating a new culture.
As a community, we’ve been talking a lot about the importance of diverse books and diverse stories. Dumas’s memoir shows that you can be American, love America, and not abandon the culture you grew up in. For me, it is a very patriotic book that breaks down the stereotypical ideas of what it means to be American. She also presents an alternative narrative than the one I’ve heard my whole life to explain the oil crisis in Iran. This is particularly illuminating and something I want to learn more about.
Favorite Moment: Dumas writes about introducing her fiance to her parents for the first time. He knew that in her culture food was incredibly important, so he ate everything that was set before him. Everything. And they had several incredibly large portions. He had to lie down after the meal, but it was important to him that he impress her parents. Seriously, this story is adorable.
WTF Moment: She did share some stories about prejudice her family has faced. For example, her father had a few years where he could not find a job because of the country that issued his passport. Even when she shares these moments, though, she does so with compassion. She loves the United States and that is clear even when the United States doesn’t love her back.
Narrator: I listened to the audio, which has become my preferred format for memoirs and personal essays when narrated by the author. There is just something special in that. It feels like the writer is telling you a story, not reading you a book. For this book, it was especially helpful because some of the stories deal with pronunciation. It was nice knowing that since the narrator was the author, that the audiobook was a trusted source of pronunciation.