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Salisbury University
A Maryland University of National Distinction

New Student Reader

2005-2006 New Student Reader

New Student Reader


2005-2006 Book

"Funny in Farsi"


About the Author

By Firoozeh Dumas

A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America

"In 1972, when she was seven, the author and her family moved from Iran to Southern California, arriving with no firsthand knowledge of this country beyond Firoozeh's father's glowing memories of his graduate school years here. In a series of deftly drawn scenes, 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; her elegant mother, who never fully mastered English (or cared to); her uncle, who combated the effects of American fast food with an array 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. An unforgettable story of identity, discovery, and the power of family love, Funny in Farsi will leave us all laughing -- without an accent."

Salisbury University was graced with the author's presence at the 2005 Fall Convocation.

Reading Guide

One of your first duties as an SU student is to read the book Funny in Farsi and come prepared to discuss it on August 26. As the title indicates, the book is an often hilarious, yet poignant, memoir of an Iranian immigrant family. As you read the book, keep the following questions in mind:

  1. When Firoozeh's family first arrived in America, what did they think it meant to be an American? How did this change over time?

  2. What were the biggest challenges the family faced in adapting to their new country?

  3. What challenges do Firoozeh and her family face that might be comparable to challenges that you as a first-year college student might face?

  4. In the chapter "The Ham Amendment," Firoozeh describes a discussion with her father that stayed with her for the rest of her life. She writes, "I was six years old and I knew that I had just been made privy to something very big and important, something far larger than the jewels in the Shah's crown, something larger than my little life in Abadan (p. 87)." What was her big revelation? Do you agree with her father?

  5. How did the Iranian Revolution affect Firoozeh's family, both in America and in Iran?

  6. "Without my relatives, I am but a thread; together, we form a colorful and elaborate Persian carpet (p.103)." What did Firoozeh mean by this?

  7. What is your favorite chapter in the book? Why did you pick this one?
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