Funny in Farsi - Firoozeh Dumas

Funny in Farsi

By Firoozeh Dumas

  • Release Date: 2003-06-17
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4.5
From 194 Ratings


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Finalist for the PEN/USA Award in Creative Nonfiction, the Thurber Prize for American Humor, and the Audie Award in Biography/Memoir

This Random House Reader’s Circle edition includes a reading group guide and a conversation between Firoozeh Dumas and Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner!

“Remarkable . . . told with wry humor shorn of sentimentality . . . In the end, what sticks with the reader is an exuberant immigrant embrace of America.”—San Francisco Chronicle

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: her engineer father, a sweetly quixotic dreamer who first sought riches on Bowling for Dollars and in Las Vegas, and later lost his job during the Iranian revolution; her elegant mother, who never fully mastered English (nor cared to); her uncle, who combated the effects of American fast food with an army of miraculous American weight-loss gadgets; and Firoozeh herself, who as a girl changed her name to Julie, and who encountered a second wave of culture shock when she met and married a Frenchman, becoming part of a one-couple melting pot.

In a series of deftly drawn scenes, we watch the family grapple with American English (hot dogs and hush puppies?—a complete mystery), American traditions (Thanksgiving turkey?—an even greater mystery, since it tastes like nothing), and American culture (Firoozeh’s parents laugh uproariously at Bob Hope on television, although they don’t get the jokes even when she translates them into Farsi).

Above all, this is an unforgettable story of identity, discovery, and the power of family love. It is a book that will leave us all laughing—without an accent.

Praise for Funny in Farsi
“Heartfelt and hilarious—in any language.”Glamour
“A joyful success.”Newsday
“What’s charming beyond the humor of this memoir is that it remains affectionate even in the weakest, most tenuous moments for the culture. It’s the brilliance of true sophistication at work.”Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Often hilarious, always interesting . . . Like the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, this book describes with humor the intersection and overlapping of two cultures.”The Providence Journal
“A humorous and introspective chronicle of a life filled with love—of family, country, and heritage.”—Jimmy Carter
“Delightfully refreshing.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“[Funny in Farsi] brings us closer to discovering what it means to be an American.”San Jose Mercury News


  • A wonderful cultural experience

    By Boyhowdy6
    A humorous and heartwarming read of bringing one’s culture and having to blend it but keep it authentic within another one. The storytelling made me feel I was actually there experiencing them right along the author. I wish I was one of her school friends through all of this!
  • Amazing !!

    By Destiny cutie
    An eye opener to the obstacles people face and very insightful I really enjoyed it and at times I had a really good laugh
  • Mandatory Summer Reading

    By Slytherin Geek
    This book was really interesting. It kept me entertained which made it that much easier to read. You don’t have to force yourself to read this book as you do for others.
  • Funny in Farsi

    By KathyIquilt
    This was an informative, funny, at times heart-wrenching, and hard to put down easy read. Thank you for sharing your family’s life.
  • Wonderful!

    By rmckeon
    Such a simple, lovely story. I found myself tagging along, a young girl who is creatively figuring out how to adapt. Thank you for sharing such colorful happy descriptions of Iran! And I just love your mom. Reminds me so much of my own!
  • Crashes :(

    By Fire657
    It keeps crashing on my iPad 2g :( All other books work... Oh yeah and it skips chapters without telling u
  • Interesting but confusing!

    By Hkobylinski
    I had to read funny in farsi for summer reading. This book definatley tells a great story but at times was a bit confusing because the time periods would change frequently which made it hard to understand.