Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Sunday, September 11, 2016

It Ain't So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas

How I Heard About It:  I actually received an ARC of this book last November at NCTE15.  It sat in my TBR pile until the end of this summer.  I'm not sure why some books stay in that pile and others make their way to the top and get read.  I'm happy that I finally pulled this one out of the pile and got to reading.  The cover always interested me and made me curious about the story-line.  

What It Is About:  Zomorod (Cindy) is original from Iran, but has moved back and forth to America a few times.  This time her family has settle in Newport Beach.  Zomorod hopes it is the last time they move so she can finally settle in and be a "normal" American sixth grader.  When she first starts her new school, she decides to change her name to a "Brady Brunch" name and picks Cindy.  Her first friend she meets is also named Cindy so she calls her the original Cindy.  These two don't last long because they realize they don't have much in common.  It takes the "new" Cindy awhile to fit in and find her own crowd at school, but she eventually finds a great group of girls that she can truly call her friends.  Things are going well for Cindy and her family when political upset begins in Iran in the late 70's and early 80's with the Iran Hostage Crisis.  Her father loses his job, her mother retreats from the family, and Cindy tries to be an American kid while defending her country to others.  As the crisis continues day after day, month after month; Cindy and her family find themselves in a position where they just might have to return to Iran.  

What I Thought Of It:  Sometimes it is the cover of the book that interests the reader the most.  That was the case for me with this one.  I didn't read the book blurb before beginning to read so all I had to base the story on was the cover.  Eventually it all fit together.  When I first started the book, I wasn't sure I was going to LOVE it.  With each page and chapter I began to enjoy the story more and more.  Being 49 years old, I could totally relate to the historical elements of this story.  My wife and I actually had many conversations as I was reading about these events.  It was a fun read because of all the references to the way people lived during this time period.  Of course it was also an important read because of the seriousness of the "crisis" and how Americans treated the Iranian people.  

Who Should Read It:  As I was reading the novel I kept thinking to myself what audience this book is best suited for.  As an adult that could connect to the time frame, I so enjoyed it as I know many other adult reader will also.  I'm not sure about our younger audience who will have no reference point for this time period.  I definitely think the reader should be in grades five, six, or middle-school.  It is a longer book at 362 pages.  There are lots of humorous parts to the plot.  It may tend to be best suited for female readers as the story follows Cindy and her group of girl friends.  I'm glad I read it and it certainly brought me back to my childhood.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  4 STARS out of 5 Stars

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