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Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America

(Funny in Farsi #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  21,923 ratings  ·  3,010 reviews
In 1972, when she was seven, Firoozeh Dumas and her family moved from Iran to Southern California, arriving with no firsthand knowledge of this country beyond her father's glowing memories of his graduate school years here. More family soon followed, and the clan has been here ever since. Funny in Farsi chronicles the American journey of Dumas's wonderfully engaging family ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 13th 2004 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published June 17th 2003)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  21,923 ratings  ·  3,010 reviews

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America, Firoozeh Dumas

Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America is a 2003 memoir by Iranian American author Firoozeh Dumas. The book describes Dumas's move with her family in 1972, at age seven, from Iran to Whittier, California, and her life in the United States for the next several decades (with a brief return to Iran). The book describes adjusting to the different culture and dealing with her extended family, most of whom also
da AL
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A big-hearted account for anyone who's ever been embarrassed about their parents, of being between cultures, of being a teen, all the above -- or who wants to understand what it might be like! Read this when it first came out & much enjoyed it. Especially loved a later NPR interview with author Dumas, where she noted that people are always intrigued by her French husband's accent, yet not so much hers... ...more
J.L.   Sutton
Feb 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed Firoozeh Dumas's Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America. While this is a story of one specific family acclimating to life in the U.S., there were many familiar themes common to the immigrant experience. Dumas's style is easy to follow and what she writes should be accessible to any age. All of that is good. Still, there was a disconnect for me which probably has more to do with my expectations. Despite the title, Dumas doesn't try to make everything funny; however, s ...more
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
The news has been full of talk about immigration. Saw this book and thought it was an appropriate book considering the political environment.

Firoozeh came to Whittier, California from Abadan, Iran when she was seven years old. She told of her first day at elementary school. The children and teacher did not know where Iran was. She says her father told her America was a kind and orderly nation full of clean bathrooms. When she came home from school, she thought her father was correct the American
Samaneh Abdoli
Oct 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I read farsi translated of this book (عطر سنبل/عطر کاج). It was percet. It really deserved the funniest book prize in US. I will buy the english version and read it again. Most of the time reading I were in stitches. I could not control my laughing even in my doctor's waiting room and sometimes my laughing ended to cry! I really recommend to read this book. I hope you enjoy as much as I did. ...more
Jan 08, 2011 rated it liked it
When I mentioned to my daughter the librarian that I needed something light to read after some of my recent reading, she recommended Firoozeh Dumas' Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America. Ms. Dumas had attended a Houston Library event within the past year and my daughter just happened to have an autographed copy of the book that she would lend me. She guaranteed that it would make me laugh.

It did make me smile, chuckle, and once or twice even laugh out loud. It is a charming
Currently, I am on a Middle East kick, so to speak. I read Kite Runner last year and finished A Thousand Splendid Suns last week. I began a mission to find books about the Middle East and found an interview with Khaled Hosseini where he recommended this book; thus, off to the library I went and took it out along with Lipstick Jihad.

Overall, it is a light read. Each chapter is a separate story. The author takes the reader through her childhood up until she is a married woman with children. I laug
Mar 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Iran, amusing family vignettes, immigrants, food
What a fun read! Delightful! The style reminded me a bit of Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. Alright so Firoozeh Dumas is Iranian and a woman, but the humorous vignettes and inclusion of family were certainly reminiscent of that style. It was a thoroughly enjoyable book and I happened to learn some interesting information about Iran and immigrants and Iranian culture along the way. Voila!
Belhor Crowley
Feb 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: novels
I think maybe if I wasn't Iranian myself, or if I was an eight year old, I would have found this book more interesting to read, but since I am both Iranian and pretty damn old (inside more than outside), Mrs. Dumas' normal and mostly boring life (specially the married part) didn't interest me all that much. I did struggle and kept reading until the end of it though. I'm sure this would have made a best seller 100 years ago, when people knew little about other cultures and things like a mispronou ...more
Bonnie Shores
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir

DEFINITELY a cool story! :)

I was married to an Iranian back in the 80s and Firoozeh's memoir brought back so many funny memories. Although my ex was in college when we met and his family did not live in the U.S., their influence was always felt. I learned by experience that (among other things) a visit from your Iranian in-laws did, indeed, last for a season and that meal prep began in the morning and lasted all day.

Firoozeh's father is awesome! I know there is absolutely NO similarity between t
This is a wonderful memoir, at times I laughed at loud, at other times I learned. Sometimes I thought "a version of this happens in my (non-immigrant) family." Towards the end I thought, "I just love Firoozeh's father." Who can resist someone who embraces life with his arms wide open and who does good where he can? ...more
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Review originally posted on A Skeptical Reader.

Funny in Farsi is a memoir about the author, Firoozeh Dumas, moving from Iran to America when she was seven-years-old. The memoir is a collection of light and enjoyable tales of her and her family’s experience living in a foreign land with barely the ability to speak the language properly.

The memoir balances the good with the bad perfectly, sharing both the more serious concerns of immigrants as well as the more boisterous periods of adjustment. Som
Settare (on hiatus)
Sep 28, 2012 rated it liked it
“Fritzy, Fritzy DumbAss!” =)))
Oh my good god, this is one of my most effective sadness treatments, I've read it dozens of times, both the original English one and the translated Farsi edition, both of which are hilarious in their own ways. It's one of those rare books that make me laugh my ass off, out loud, literally. I love it!
I loved every moment with this book. These memoirs opened my eyes to a culture I had never known anything about. Her humor was delightful. She kept me laughing constantly. This ended up becoming a couples read as my husband enjoyed it as much as I. This is one I will reread just for the pleasure of it. Now I'm dying for some lentil rice. ...more
Sakshi Kathuria
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I couldn’t have started with a better book ringing in the New Year. Review to come soon !!
Feb 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
A humorous collection of stories about a young Iranian immigrant to the United States as she deals with her parents and new life, from elementary school to her marriage. A wonderful addition to the growing body of immigrant literature, there are heartwarming and funny tales of her father’s frugality, people’s kindnesses and ignorance, memories of family and homeland. There are plenty of insights into Iranian culture, both overseas and in America, as well as simple family dynamics, told with a hu ...more
Oct 18, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

An entertaining read. The author moved with her family from Iran to Southern California when she was 7 years old, just a few years before the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The book provides a light-hearted, interesting glimpse into the Iranian culture, and how immigrants adjust to American "pop" culture. There are parts that could have been quite sad, but the author clearly focused on the entertaining, upbeat side of each adventure.
Kevin Shepherd
"Ever since we had arrived in the United States, my classmates kept asking me about magic carpets. 'They don't exist,' I always said. I was wrong. Magic carpets do exist, but they are called library cards."

At the tender age of seven, Firoozeh and her family moved from Abadan, Iran to Southern California, and we, her readers, will never be quite the same. There is an abundance of humor and love and warmth here. This is a treasure worthy of more stars than Goodreads will allow.
Mar 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: humour, biography
Very sweet and funny!
Shokufeh شکوفه  Kavani کاوانی
The Persian Version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding............
Ali Sattari
Dec 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
It was a nice read with some good laughs along.
Since I am an Iranian, I couldn't resist relating with characters and feeling so close to situations.
Jul 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Here's the run down: Firoozeh Dumas is an Iranian who immigrated to the US in the early 1970's. Dumas' collection of biographical essays examine her life in the US, specifically California, from the time she arrives until she marries, starts a family of her own, and writes the book.

Here's what I liked about the book: How her reflections humanized Iranians, Her amusing reflections, especially about her father, Kazem, Her observations about how Californian geography determined how well, or not, I
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, borrowed
this was an amazing book. I am truly glad to have read it. I really could relate with the author and her parents. Even mine have many similarities. My dad, though very affluent, has this has this habit of scrimping and doing things on his own, my mother though highly literate, has stayed back home to look after me and my brother, gladly giving up a highly renown job. They love us to bits, and consider us as kids even now. My eyes teared up to read the post-script. This book proves that parental ...more
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Firoozeh Dumas' memoir is a light and fitfully amusing read, but one which I felt missed an opportunity to dig a bit deeper into the experience of being an Iranian immigrant to California in the early 1970s. This is not to say that just because she's of Iranian background that Dumas was required to write about the political and cultural ramifications of the Revolution, but the careful way that she avoids any really tricky topics means that she also misses out on the opportunity to say anything t ...more
Ferial Fattahi
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this book more than I would’ve imagined! The stories are written in a scattered way but still somehow managed to take you away with enthusiasm. I think the sense of being an outsider in any circumstances can make you feel quite lonely; Sometimes you can even feel like an outsider in your motherland, this book however is not limited to Iranian migrants around the world but I do believe by all means it can address the whole world. I highly recommend reading this book as you will ...more
Sep 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The title pretty much tells you all about the book! I really enjoyed this book. It was funny but made you think at the same time. Made me think and hope that I would have befriended the new girl from Iran. This is especially good to read post 9/11. It shows you just a normal family who happens to come from Iran--their hopes, dreams, fears, rejections. It makes you wish that we could just all get along and enjoy what makes us the same and what makes us different.
Megan Olsen
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was heartwarming and hilarious. Loved her wonderful relationship with her family members, and her positive, resilient attitude about hardships her family has faced.

Highly recommend.
Jan 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story of language barriers and cultural differences, this book could be the memoir of any Iranian who has spent any amount of time in a Western country.

While the book had a slight tone of condescension which tickled me a bit, it was nonetheless a lighthearted, enjoyable read
Holly Scudero
Sep 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club
Firoozeh Dumas first moved to America when she was seven. Her first stay was experienced as a novelty; she was a foreigner and all the other kids readily accepted her, despite her limited English and her unpronounceable name (or possibly because of it). Two years later, her family moved back to Iran, where her father worked in the petroleum business. They moved back to Southern California again after the Iranian revolution, and their second coming was met with all the suspicion and hostility tha ...more
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Originally published at

Firoozeh Dumas’ memoir about growing up Iranian in California, Funny in Farsi, is a lighthearted look at her 1970s and 80s immigrant experience. Imagine moving to a country where you don’t speak the language, and everyone is geographically challenged with no idea of where your home country is located on the globe. While Dumas isn’t the only person to have such an experience, she makes her story unique with humor and pathos.

Her father figures as the larg
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Book Review #8 2 10 Dec 19, 2018 03:46PM  
Goodreads Librari...: First published date wrong 3 21 Aug 14, 2014 10:06PM  
Funny in Farsi Summer Reading help! 4 54 Nov 02, 2012 10:58AM  
funny in farsi 3 75 Jun 27, 2011 07:11AM  
ok 1 26 Feb 19, 2010 08:24AM  

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Firoozeh Dumas was born in Abadan, Iran and moved to Whittier, California at the age of seven. After a two-year stay, she and her family moved back to Iran and lived in Ahvaz and Tehran. Two years later, they moved back to Whittier, then to Newport Beach. Firoozeh then attended UC Berkeley where she met and married a Frenchman.

Other books in the series

Funny in Farsi (2 books)
  • Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American, at Home and Abroad

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