Margot's Reviews > Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American, at Home and Abroad

Laughing Without an Accent by Firoozeh Dumas
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's review
Feb 26, 09

bookshelves: hilarious, international, short-stories
Read in February, 2009

Firoozeh Dumas has done it again--her gentle humor is revealed through each of the short stories detailing her life experiences as an Iranian-American, and the quirks of her extended, supportive family. Sort of like a female, Iranian-American David Sedaris with a little less bite.

Here are some of my favorite parts:
"When Farshid and I arrived at the library, we went into a huge room filled with children's books. I had never seen so many books just for children in one place. I picked the smallest book, assuming it would be the cheapest. When I went to pay for it, coin purse in hand, the librarian made my brother fill out a sheet of paper; then she handed me a card with my name, Firoozeh Jazayeri, correctly spelled but barely fitting on the line provided. She then handed me the book I had chosen--for free. I was stunned. She was lending it to me. I thought then and there that libraries were the most brilliant idea ever and wondered who had thought of them."(44)
"In Iran, we celebrated the math geniuses, the ones with neat handwriting, the ones who tried to excel in school, the ones who spent a lot of time on their homework. They received prizes. Their names were in the newspaper. We applauded them and wished our children could be like them. Here, those kids are called nerds and geeks and dorks. This may be the only country where people make fun of the smart kids. Now that's stupid. I only hope that the engineer who built the bridge I drive across or the nurse who administers our vaccines or the teacher who teaches my kids was a total nerd."(52)
"My lack of a social life meant that weekends were spent at the library, where I didn't study much. Truth be told, I spent my mental energies feeling sorry for myself."(88)
"Motherhood was what every corny cliche promised it would be, with one glaring exceptions: I have yet to see a coffee mug showing a mother telling her bundle of joy, "I would trade my spleen for another hour of sleep."(106)
"Americans have a simplistic love affair with British accents, claiming that they make everything sound better. I am here to confirm that this is, in fact, entirely true."(123)
"In a country where women are told they can be anything they want to be, popular culture tells them that the lower that bar is set, the cooler you are...The race for the bottom is on."(203)
"It was my first visit to the Dairy State, where I learned, among other things, that schools and prisons in Wisconsin are required to serve real butter, not margarine. Should I ever find myself incarcerated, may it be in Wisconsin."(216)
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