Dumas, Firoozeh 1966(?)-
Dumas, Firoozeh 1966(?)-
Born Firoozeh Jazayeri, c. 1966, in Iran; daughter of a petroleum engineer and a homemaker; married Francois Dumas; children: two. Education: University of California, Berkeley, B.A.
Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America, Villard Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Firoozeh Dumas was seven years old in 1972 when her father, an Iranian petroleum engineer, brought her family to America. They settled in California and began a long process of assimilation that taught Dumas a great deal about the American character and her own place in the world as an Iranian-American. While the family experienced great difficulties at times—especially during the hostage crisis [in 1979-81]—they managed to survive and thrive with the help of a healthy sense of humor and a love of democracy. Dumas recalls her childhood and her coming of age in Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America. The book uses humorous anecdotes to describe how she and her various family members overcame culture shock, and American ignorance of the Middle East, to build a life in California.
According to Kristine Huntley in Booklist, Funny in Farsi provides "a unique perspective on American culture." Interestingly enough, the book has sold very well among Iranian-Americans but has also found a mainstream audience of readers seeking to learn more about the immigrant experience. A Kirkus Reviews critic described the work as "light-as-air essays" that are "warm and engaging." Library Journal correspondent Debra Moore styled the book "a valuable glimpse into the immigrant experiences of one very entertaining family." Susan H. Woodcock in School Library Journal felt that Dumas's humor "allows natives and nonnatives alike to look at America with new insight."
In an interview with the National Iranian American Council, published on her Web site, Dumas expressed her hopes for Funny in Farsi: "I hope that my book serves as a bridge for non-Iranians, taking away the fear of the unknown. The media has portrayed us as such a frightening group of people and I hope that my book reveals the warm and lovable side of our culture. It's hard to hate a group of people when you see the shared humanity."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 2003, Kristine Huntley, review of Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America, p. 1731.
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2003, review of Funny in Farsi, p. 654.
Library Journal, April 1, 2003, Debra Moore, review of Funny in Farsi, p. 108.
School Library Journal, November, 2003, Susan H. Woodcock, review of Funny in Farsi, p. 172.