Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas is a fairly short, well-written book that contrasts Iranian and American cultures in a comedic-autobiographical style. The novel is focused on Dumas growing up in Iran and then having to relocate to America for her father’s job.
The novel is full of touching stories related to culture and social constructs, such as America’s fear of Middle-Eastern people and how Dumas feels the need to change her name to something more American to be liked amongst her peers. For as many tragic and touching stories it contains, it has twice the amount of hilarious stories based mostly on the ignorance of her parents. For example, her mom and her went to the store and searched for “elbow grease” for hours after a plumber told them that their toilet just needed a little elbow grease in order to function properly. The book is full of these type of misunderstandings while her family gets acclimated to the American way of living.
The novel follows Dumas throughout her childhood years as well as her college years, where she mentions that she is married to a Frenchman. It’s quite a humorous relationship because they are exposed to a completely new culture in America coming from drastically different cultural backgrounds. This creates a lot of entertaining frustrations between them.
In addition, readers will find Dumas very personable, which makes it an extremely easy read. If you ever have a bit of free time, I highly suggest picking up a copy. It is such a fun and easy read that you could honestly finish it in one afternoon. Filled with tragedy, humor, life-lessons, and culture shock, Funny in Farsi is 198 pages of pure gold.