okyrhoe's Reviews > Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America

Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas
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's review
Aug 13, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: bookcrossing, u-s-a, iran
Read in February, 2008

Funny in Farsi is a pleasant read, but I have to admit I didn't find it that funny overall, compared to other narratives with a similar theme (eg. the collections by David Sedaris).
I think this genre has been promoted a lot in the US and it is difficult for a writer to come up with something fresh and unique. I could easily substitute 'Greece' (my nationality) or 'Lebanon' (where I grew up) for Iran and many of the remarks regarding weddings, food customs, moral codes, family relations, ethnic features, cultural mis-communications, stereotypes, etc. would still be valid.
The one story I found truly hilarious is "Judges Paid Off", and that one is neither about being Iranian nor about America. I think the reason this story works more than the others is because here the author is free from familial constraints and she can exaggerate the details. (It is also the story where she satirizes her own self.) A bit of caricature is necessary for humor to work. In the auto/biographical stories, I feel her talent for comedy is limited by the fact that she tries to remain 'truthful' and 'loving' to her family at all times.

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