At first glance, I suspected that “Funny in Farsi” could be too cheesy due to its title including the word “funny,” or be written immaturely; however, I was soon proven wrong. “Funny in Farsi” is a very relatable and well-written book that professionally handled many significant topics including politics, religion and capitalism. Dumas successfully engaged the reader in the book with her heart-warming (and at times heart-shattering) stories.
The story was easy to follow as Dumas’ experiences in the United States were interesting and entertaining to read. At the beginning of the book, Dumas described the funny situations her family members went through which helped her achieve a light and cheery mood. I especially found the story of Duma’s father joining the bowling team to attend an American show hilarious. He had hoped to win thousands of dollars only to end up winning $7.
Other than narrating her more light-hearted experiences, Dumas explained how the Iranian Revolution affected her and her family as non-Iranians now looked at them differently in the U.S.. However, the author never once presented Iran or the United States in a negative or positive light. She made sure to write about all aspects of both countries. She did not label her experiences simply as good or bad. Dumas handled controversial topics such as politics and religion in an informed and mature way, and although the story was written from her point of view, she never pushed the readers to support her beliefs.
Reading about the young Persian immigrant’s experience in the United States as a Turkish-American who has gone through similar experiences made me feel comforted and understood. I decided to highlight the similar situations that Dumas and I had gone through throughout the book and, when the book concluded, I ended up with more than thirty highlights. Some of these experiences included the difficulty of people pronouncing Middle Eastern names, not being able to find the food supplies found back home and the general knowledge and perceptions of the Middle East, which are most of the time lacking and wrong.
Moving across the globe to a country with different values, traditions and standards is never an easy experience and a book like “Funny in Farsi” can make people who have had similar experiences feel less alone.