Laughing Without An Accent – Book Review

Glimpses of shared humanity make it so hard to kill others. -From Laughing Without An Accent, page 219-

And if it’s one thing I hope we Iranians have imparted, it is the closeness of extended family, not because we all get along perfectly, but because we know that we all benefit emotionally from maintaining those ties. -From Laughing Without An Accent, page 160-

Firoozeh Dumas has written a very funny, immensely insightful memoir about growing up as an Iranian living in America. Dumas immigrated to America at the age of seven with her mother, father and brother and so retains memories of both her childhood in the small Iranian town of Abadan as well as her youth in California.

Laughing Without An Accent is Dumas’ second novel (she published Funny in Farsi in 2003 to rave reviews). It is a collection of vignettes which give the reader insight into the melding of cultures and the struggles (often humorous) of immigrants living in the United States. Her stories reflect the difference between the generations in how immigrants adapt to life in another culture – and her affectionate and hilarious reflections on her parents were some of my favorite parts of the book, such as when Dumas and her French husband host Christmas at their home in San Francisco:

My parents always buy wrapping paper on sale, paying attention only to the pretty colors. As Francois held his stack of gifts, all emblazoned with “Happy Birthday!” and “Congratulations, Graduate!” he looked a bit puzzled. A steep learning curve lay head of him. -From Laughing Without An Accent, page 97-

Dumas’ memoir strikes just the right balance between lightheartedness and reflection on deeper issues. When she shares that “the only time I felt like a complete foreigner was in college,” the reader sympathizes. Likewise, her recollections of the Iranian Hostage Crisis and how it impacted her family filled me with dismay at the prejudice towards immigrants which came about as a result of that event.

Witty, warm and compassionate – Laughing Without An Accent is a memoir worth reading.


**SPECIAL NOTE: Teachers might want to check out Firoozeh Dumas’ website where she offers a free 9-page educator’s guide to her book Funny in Farsi.

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    • Teddy on May 17, 2008 at 16:55

    Thanks for the wonderful review, but you really must quite adding to my TBR like this! Don’t you realize you are feeding my addiction? LOL!

    • Jaimie on May 18, 2008 at 08:36

    Looks like a great book! Thanks for your review!

    • Wendy on May 18, 2008 at 14:17

    Teddy: You mean it isn’t my job to feed and enable your book addiction?!?! *laughing*

    Jaimie: You’re welcome!

    • Alisia on May 18, 2008 at 17:06

    This looks like a great book! This is a non-fic book, right?

    • Wendy on May 18, 2008 at 17:31

    Alisia: Yes, it’s nonfiction (memoir).

    • Kim on May 22, 2008 at 12:56

    I read Funny in Farsi this winter and loved it. I totally forgot she had a new book coming out–I am heading over to amazon to order right now!

    • Wendy on May 22, 2008 at 14:26

    Kim: Glad I’m helping to add to your TBR pile 🙂 I didn’t read Funny in Farsi – but I think I should!

  1. As a word-of-mouth author, all I can say is “muchas gracias.”



    PS FYI: Do teachers read your blog? If so, there is a free nine-page educators guide on my website for FUNNY IN FARSI.

    • Wendy on June 1, 2008 at 07:08

    Ms. Dumas: Thank you so much for stopping by my blog! It was my pleasure to read your book and recommend it to other readers. I don’t know for sure, but I think there are a few teachers out there who are reading my blog…I’ll update my post to include a link to your website.

  2. Thank you!

    If I ever have a book event near you, I hope you come by and say hello.

    I currently have eight books on my nightstand. I’m in the middle of two of them. There really is not enough time during the day for all the great books out there!


    • Wendy on June 1, 2008 at 08:27

    Firoozeh: I know exactly what you mean! I have stopped counting the books on my nightstand *laughs* If only I could stop buying them! But, alas, I’m a book addict!! If you ever make it to far Northern California – I’ll definitely pop by and say hello 🙂

    • VJ on December 22, 2008 at 00:45

    I love the reviews of this book, it reminds me of my days in transition from India to US. check my blog for the same stuff and others. imissindiadotblogspotdotcom


    • Wendy on December 22, 2008 at 17:09

    VJ: I enjoyed seeing your blog…thanks for visiting mine 🙂

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