• Laughing Without an Accent

  • Adventures of an Iranian American, at Home and Abroad
  • By: Firoozeh Dumas
  • Narrated by: Firoozeh Dumas
  • Length: 5 hrs and 51 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (300 ratings)

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Laughing Without an Accent  By  cover art

Laughing Without an Accent

By: Firoozeh Dumas
Narrated by: Firoozeh Dumas
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Publisher's Summary

In the best-selling memoir Funny in Farsi, Firoozeh Dumas recounted her adventures growing up Iranian American in Southern California. Now she again mines her rich Persian heritage in Laughing Without an Accent, sharing stories both tender and humorous on being a citizen of the world, on her well-meaning family, and on amusing cultural conundrums, all told with insights into the universality of the human condition. (Hint: It may have to do with brushing and flossing daily.)

With dry wit and a bold spirit, Dumas puts her own unique mark on the themes of family, community, and tradition. She braves the uncommon palate of her French-born husband and learns the nuances of having her book translated for Persian audiences. (The censors edit out all references to ham.) And along the way, she reconciles her beloved Iranian customs with her Western ideals.

Explaining crossover cultural food fare, Dumas says, "The weirdest American culinary marriage is yams with melted marshmallows. I don't know who thought of this Thanksgiving tradition, but I'm guessing a hyperactive, toothless three-year-old." On Iranian wedding anniversaries: "It just initially seemed odd to celebrate the day that 'our families decided we should marry even though I had never met you, and frankly, it's not working out so well.'" On trying to fit in with her American peers: "At the time, my father drove a Buick LeSabre, a fancy French word meaning 'OPEC thanks you.'"

Dumas also documents her first year as a new mother, the familial chaos that ensues after she removes the television set from the house, the experience of taking 51 family members on a birthday cruise to Alaska, and a road trip to Iowa with an American once held hostage in Iran.

Droll, moving, and relevant, Laughing Without an Accent shows how our differences can unite us - and provides indelible proof that Firoozeh Dumas is a humorist of the highest order.

©2008 Firoozeh Dumas (P)2008 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"There's such warmth to Dumas' writing that it invites the reader to pull up a seat at her table and smile right along with her at the quirks of her family and Iranians and Americans in general." ( Booklist)
"These stories, like everything Firoozeh Dumas writes, are charming, highly amusing vignettes of family life. Dumas is one of those rare people - a naturally gifted storyteller." (Alexander McCall Smith)

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I wanted to like this book. It just seemed so superficial and weak that I just couldn't listen past the first few chapters. A total disappointment.

29 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Laughing Without an Accent

Listening to Laughing Without an Accent; by far was one of my most pleasurable experiences. I was constantly mesmerized by author's undaunting wit; her colorful descriptions of the events; and her genius selections of the themes. I think Firoozeh stories bring humor and joy to not only Iranian-Americans but also all the immigrants to this wonderful land. I can not wait to listen to her other book Funny in Farsi

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not as good as Funny in Farsi...

...but if you liked that book, this one is worth a read.

This one, like the last, is a series of interconnected personal essays and not what I'd call a memoir.

We learn more about the author and her family (it's not so focused on her father), but I found these essays less resolved and a little less interesting. Though the essay where she and her husband go to the Bahamas was really good.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Thoughtful, engaging, and fun to read.

Would you consider the audio edition of Laughing Without an Accent to be better than the print version?

I haven't seen the printed version, but certainly think the recorded version would be better since it was narrated by the author. A tiny touch of accent, correct pronunciation of places, names and ideas adds to the experience of the story.

What other book might you compare Laughing Without an Accent to and why?

I can compare this to short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri because both authors have a sense to two cultures and express the ideas, confusions, conflicts, humor and life experience in a similar respectful (of both cultures) way.

What about Firoozeh Dumas’s performance did you like?

I love her voice and cadence, she is easy to listen to. I think her soft tones and real emotions make the deep moments in the book more memorable. I enjoyed her ability to use a lighter voice and express joy and happiness appropriately.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Living between and within two cultures, with a smile.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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What Hoot!

I Love this author and will listen to anything she writes (then reads) She has a great sense of humour, and laughs readily at herself, even sharing cringe worthy details of her life. Love how she gets into family and culture and ties it all together in her stories letting us in on her past the good and the bad. The only thing I wasn't thrilled with was her stories aren't in any order that I could see, they seemed to jump around the time line a lot. So there was some overlapping and backtracking. However, that aside, I would recommend this book highly and again have to say would love to meet her and spend some time with her and her famiy!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A listening pleasure

I just finished listening to Funny in Farsi and Laughing Without an Accent and I so enjoyed the books, especially the narration, that I just wanted to let people know that these are great books to listen to. Firoozeh's narration adds another layer to the stories and is especially good when she imitates her mother. So many of the stories crossed all cultural lines and I recognised much of the quirkyness described in the books in my own Australian family. I look forward to her next book.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Firoozeh Dumas has done it again!

Entertaining, enlightening, enjoyble and genuinely funny as Firoozeh Dumas one again leads us through trails of an Iranian and French family's life in America. Pieces of this adorable read could be the account of any American with children...tough days! The red spread story is very typical of a mother's love and desire to please, while the food stories regal us with visions of lamb's head...all entertaining and fun! Looking forward to her sequel. Peggy Davis

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Horrible narration!

Occasionally it is fine when authors decide to narrate their own books, but there is a reason why they have professionals for this sort of thing. I wanted to listen to the whole story because it seemed like it would have been interesting, but I couldn't get past the first couple of chapters because of the narrator's voice.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

hilarous and insightful

This is a laugh-out-loud book about the experience of Iranian immigrants to the US... you will laugh if you know anything about American culture, anything about Middle Eastern culture, anything about being a misfit in any society... anything about family life... it's a great book!

Because it's just a collection of stories with no particular linkage between one and the other, there are some strange jumps where you don't know what happened to cause the change (e.g. she did not used to drink alcohol, but then she was drinking it; we don't know how she married her husband, even though we know about how they first met... things like that! But it's not meant to be a fully-fledged memoir, I guess)

I had not read the author's previous book - but I am looking forward to that now!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Boring

This is suppose to be funny, but both the text and the author's reading style are flat. The stories told were not particular in any real way. I made it through about 1 hour, and will not listen to the rest.

1 person found this helpful

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  • saima
  • 10-18-22

really deep and funny

absolutely love each word of this book it's a page turner. it's really deep and funny beautifully written and and narrated by the author