Sara'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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May 15, 09

bookshelves: 2009, non-fiction, memoir
Read in May, 2009

I remember enjoying the author's first book of stories, Funny in Farsi, when it first came out years ago, so I was excited to read the follow-up. Being born in Iran, immigrating to the U.S. as a kid, and living with a crazy family makes for interesting stories; Firoozeh Dumas has a great way with words, which does justice to the tales and keeps them entertaining. The best part of the book were the short stories about her family, like the time her dad had to buy cheap furniture when an office got rid of it... and then discovered that it barely fit in any room of their house... and then was unable to even give it away to others! I could definitely picture this sort of thing happening, and I think I know people who'd do the same (and be unable to admit it was a disaster)!

Although I don't remember Funny in Farsi very well, I think it was a stronger book overall than this. Part of this is probably due to the fact that the author is now aware she's writing for an audience; she mentions how many copies of her first book sold in Iran and proceeds to discuss why it might be so popular. Then, even as the point of the book seems to be to combat stereotypes, she uses a number of stereotypes in her own descriptions, which really negates the book's overall effect (and my enjoyment of it). I got a little tired of reading about how American celebrities are ruining kids, tired of reading about how she decided to do this or that even though all Americans do something else, tired of seeing sentences that began, "All Americans..." If you're trying to claim that all Iranians aren't a certain way, what makes it acceptable to say all Americans are a certain way? Ugh. It rubbed me the wrong way.

Overall, not a book I'd reread, but there were some good stories in it (alongside some not-so-good ones). If you liked Funny in Farsi, you'll probably enjoy Laughing Without an Accent too.
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05/13/2009 page 68
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