It's not a plot - it's true! Dumas' memoir is a collection of stories and anecdotes about her experiences emigrating to the United States as a child and then returning, after a stretch back in Iran, at the start of the Iranian Revolution. The stories are not chronological, jumping around to different memories and periods of her life, but as the title suggests, they are mostly humorous anecdotes. Even when sharing stories about feeling isolated in American society or about some of the backlash her family felt due to the American hostage situation in 1979, Dumas' tone is light. Her book is not meant to admonish or weigh down the reader. It is simply her version, complete with her characteristic sense of humor, of her life both as an American immigrant and as a still very connected member of Iranian culture.
Why It's Worth Reading:
America is a country of immigrants. Other than Native American people, nearly every other U.S. resident is descended from an immigrant. In the most recent case, I am a third generation American citizen, and yet, I connected strongly to Dumas' stories. There is something in all of us that makes us feel different, unique, isolated or misunderstood. In some cases, those qualities are ones that we can be proud of or find inspiring. In other situations, we may feel foolish or disconnected. This is a universal human characteristic, but Dumas' captures it so beautifully, without the heavy hand that sometimes comes with a story that teaches a lesson. Additionally, Dumas' experiences as part of a large, proud culturally-expressive family resonated fiercely in me. I have no Persian lineage that I am aware of, but so many of her family members, traditions, and stories reminded me of one of my own or one passed down in my family. That's the best part of heritage and culture, isn't it? The differentiation between cultures defines groups, but the lateral similarities also serve to unify them. We have so many different cultures, languages, ethnicities and heritages here in Novi. This book is the perfect conversation starter to draw out the characteristics that make us unique along with the ones that connect and bind us.
Publisher: Villard Books
Publication Date: January 13, 2004
Awards: Thurber Prize for American Humor Nominee
Do We Own a Copy?: 2 copies will be added to our memoir collection shortly