“It is not the job of the news media to report on the typical, to give insight into a different culture. It is up to the storytellers and jesters, the memoir writers, the ordinary mothers and daughters” and fathers and sons (my addition). So writes Annie J. Kelly in her review of Firoozeh Duma’s memoir Laughing Without an Accent about the everyday adventures of living in two cultures.
Duma, in a series of comedic vignettes, engages her American audience in a fun learning lesson of what it means to be Iranian – or rather, of what it means to have Iranian customs and ways of thinking in the very different culture of America. Instead of hearing all the bad news about Iran, we are treated to the good news of how the Iranian people have commonalities with us. Despite any physical or cultural differences, it is amazing how our family lives can be so similar!
My favorite reads are multicultural. How fascinating to open one’s mind to the realities of people who are not just like me. How easy to read the newspapers and write off another country and its people as fanatic, backward, violent, brainwashed, etc. Books like Duma’s engage us with the truth that people everywhere are more alike than different, and to use comedy to bring that message across makes for a warm good feeling.