Happy almost new year! It is almost the end of 2019, which means it is almost 2020, which is a whole new decade, which is crazy, but for my last review of the year, I’m going to review a book I’ve read a lot of times: It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel, by Firoozeh Dumas.
Zomorod (Cindy) Yousefzadeh is the new kid on the block . . . for the fourth time. California’s Newport Beach is her family’s latest perch, and she’s determined to shuck her brainy loner persona and start afresh with a new Brady Bunch name—Cindy. It’s the late 1970s, and fitting in becomes more difficult as Iran makes U.S. headlines with protests, revolution, and finally the taking of American hostages. Even mood rings and puka shell necklaces can’t distract Cindy from the anti-Iran sentiments that creep way too close to home.
My Rating: 5 stars!
In It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel, Firoozeh Dumas does an incredible job of incorporating very diverse characters with very developed and unique personalities. (And she writes about Carolyn, who is amazing, and wants to be a journalist, and who is a great writer and listener and also a great friend, and who is overall amazing)
Zomorod aka Cindy:
Zomorod is the main character of this story. She goes by the American name Cindy at school and with her friends, however. At home, she’s the translator for her parents, who speak almost no English. At the beginning of the story, no one knows where Iran is, and she’s teased about that. Later, everyone knows about Iran, but only the bad parts, and she’s bullied because of what’s going on with the hostages and the shah and all that. She hates when people ask her about her camel, which they just assume they have, but she prefers that to everyone only knowing the negative things about Iran, and everyone assuming that she is the expert.
Carolyn is my favorite character this whole story! She knows exactly what she wants to be when she’s older. She knows she wants to be a journalist, and she promises Zomorod that she will write about regular people, and all sorts of stuff. Carolyn is always preparing for being a journalist. She interviews Zomorod’s father about Iran, and she has a tape recorder, and she takes notes, and she’s genuinely interested in what he has to say. She is also such a good friend to Zomorod! She is always there for Zomorod, and always wants to make her happy.
Before I read this book, I didn’t know anything about Iran. I’ve never read a book with an Iranian character, I’ve never learned anything about Iran in school, and this book has taught me a lot, and also inspired me to do some other research about Iran, and to learn a little about it.
One small thing…
the title of this book!!! It really doesn’t fit! That is the one and only thing that I don’t like about this book, but I really think that the title just doesn’t quite work!
This book has many amazing quotes, and here are two that I especially love:
“My dad always says that kindness is our religion and if we treat everybody the way we would like to be treated, the world would be a better place.”
“… even though we belong to three different religions. We are alike in so many more ways than we are different.”
(Zomorod is Muslim, Carolyn is Christian, and Rachel, one of their other friends is Jewish.)
Where I got this book/ How I found out about it:
It Ain’t so Awful, Falafel is actually and OBOB book. OBOB, which stands for Oregon Battle Of the Books, is a competition where you have a teams of 4 and you compete in battles to see which team collectively knows the most about the 16 books that they have been reading and studying.
I’d actually read It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel last year, and I’d really enjoyed it, but now, because it’s and OBOB books, I’ve reread it a lot of times, which has made me appreciate it even more!
Overall, this is one of the best books I’ve read all year. I have reread it and reread it, and the plot never gets boring, and the characters are so real, with such great personalities. I highly recommend this book to everyone, because I think that anyone will enjoy this book, and learn a lot from it.
What do you think about this book? Have you read It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel? Do you agree with any of the points I’ve made? Chat with me in the comments below!