So while searching for books to use for a World Lit class I'm teaching this year, a college friend suggested Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas. Lucky for me, Random House was offering this books as a free download right then, so I got to read it right away. I absolutely loved it.
Funny in Farsi begins when seven-year-old Dumas and her family move from Iran to California. Dumas becomes the cultural and language translator for her parents, as she quickly learns English, and spends the next several years balancing between being American and being Iranian. With humor, Dumas addresses some serious topics: the Iranian hostage crisis, the difficulty of language and cultural barrier, religion, food, and more.
I loved Dumas's voice. She is funny and down-to-earth, but beneath her witticisms there is an obvious ache at the hardships of being an Iranian in America. Having read Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis earlier this year, I enjoyed reading a totally different perspective on growing up Iranian. What is barely spoken of in Funny in Farsi is presently starkly in Persepolis. Dumas expresses herself through humor, while Satrapi works through her grim drawings.
I read that ABC is going to be shooting a pilot for Funny in Farsi, and I will definitely try to catch that. Television may ruin the whole thing, of course, but I will definitely be reading her new memoir, Laughing Without an Accent.