Review: It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas

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. A poignant yet lighthearted middle grade debut from the author of the best-selling Funny in Farsi.

Description taken from Goodreads.

This is the story I was looking for when I picked up Randa Abdel-Fattah’s Does My Head Look Big in This? I won’t even comment on the title (because not even falafels can save it) or the cover (because I don’t really know where to start), but this is the story that I was looking for.

I could start every blog post on here with “____ sucks,” and in this case, it would be “not fitting in sucks”. Not fitting in, in middle schools, sucks even more.

Cindy understands this, and that’s why she changes her name and tries to fit in and still hold onto her culture at the same time. While this isn’t the best or the most far-reaching portrayal of the immigration experience, I felt that Dumas did a great job portraying Cindy’s situation and her feelings as she grew throughout the book.

Overall, this was a very well-written novel that addresses the down-to-earth level immigration tension that even kids are feeling today. Despite all of the embarrassing or difficult times Cindy goes through, she manages to persevere and ultimately come out as someone who is stronger and more mature. I loved getting to know her, her family and her culture, and I hope to read Funny in Farsi soon! 4 stars.

pg count for the hardback: 384


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