IT AIN’T SO AWFUL, FALAFEL by Firoozeh Dumas

It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firooz Dumas

I have to thank Molly for this recommendation.  We were at Powell’s choosing books, when her eyes focused on it and she asked me if I had read it.  When I said I hadn’t, she gently but firmly impressed on me that it was a favorite of hers, and she thought it would be for me as well.  OK, sold!  And she was right.  I didn’t get to read it right away (because of course she had to reread it), but now that I have, I can add my recommendation to hers.  Really, a perfect Middle Reader book, as the story spans the years between 6th and 8th grade for Zomorod (aka Cindy), a young girl from Iran living with her parents in Newport Beach, California.  The time period is set in the late 1970’s, and we experience the startling and troubling events in Iran as seen through Cindy’s experiences.  Though I lived through those times, I was invited to see the complex and truly horrifying changes in Iran, as well as the impact on the world of Iran’s revolution from a fresh perspective.  The first part of the book has a lighter tone, as Cindy makes friends, and copes with adjusting to a new home and school.  There are ups and down, of course, but Cindy is a smart and caring girl, and others begin to see her strengths.

But the revolution and taking of the American hostages in Iran cause a rise in anti-Iran sentiment.  Worst of all, her father’s job as an engineer for the oil company is terminated because of the strain in US-Iran relationships.  As their savings disappear, it looks like Cindy will have to return to a very different and frightening Iran.  You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens!

This brief summary doesn’t begin to show you the humorous dialogue, funny situations, and hearty warming encounters in the book.  Firoozeh Dumas explains in her afterward that much of the book is a memoir, with a little fiction thrown in.  She is the award-winning author of the adult book Funny in Farsi.  Another book to highly recommend!

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