Dumas' memoir of a Muslim girl growing up in Southern California is the perfect antidote for these days when we feel so much polarization among Americans and the sharp differences between the United States and the rest of the world. We find ourselves falling so easily into anger, fear, despair or self-rightousness, none of which does a thing to build bridges.
Hers is a personal, not political, report, but inevitably, her family faces prejudice, particularly during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis and when Firoozeh marries a Frenchman, whose Catholic mother approves neither of her Muslim religion or nor her cultural identity.
Dumas' narrative never descends into anger or bitterness. Instead, her humanity, her longing for beauty and love and her humor shine through. Yes, I both laughed out loud and cried real tears while reading this book. I found myself reading little snippets of it to our sons and my husband. She pokes gentle fun of just about everyone, including herself.
She throws in witty observations like this one, just when the reader leasts expects them“...The more modest and impractical the kitchen, the more likely one will be invited to stay for a meal. Show me a fancy house with a top-of-the-line gourmet kitchen, and I'll show you a family that eats out a lot.”
This book is a great read for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider. And I guess that would include all of us, right?