Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

Laughing Without an Accent: The Adventures of an Iranian American, at Home and Abroad

Posted by nliakos on April 11, 2015

by Firoozeh Dumas (Villard, 2008; ISBN 978-0-345-49956-1)

Having enjoyed Funny in Farsi, I was looking forward to Dumas’ second book, and it did not disappoint (nor was it very different from the first one). There are stories about her childhood in Iran, her college years in the U.S., her parents’ inevitable foibles (only this time she provides us with her family name, noting that “it took about twelve minutes for the average Iranian to figure out my last name”), and the challenges of crossing cultures, like celebrating a life instead of mourning a death and understanding why Carol Burnett’s Tarzan yell was funny to Americans.

The final chapters are not funny, but they are worth reading. The first is about delivering a commencement speech, including Dumas’ “top ten things [graduates] should know”, like avoiding television and credit cards and making sure to show your gratitude to people, always have a book handy, volunteer, and vote (and #10: brush and floss daily, because you have no idea how much it will cost you if you don’t!).

She mentions that my favorite part of Funny in Farsi, “The Ham Amendment”, was censored out of the Iranian translation of that book. I guess they don’t want anyone to think that being a good person might make up for not being a Muslim.

A quick, pleasant read.

 

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