TJ Burns — December 23, 2016
Entertaining, educational, emotional, and informative.
I read It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel with daughter and it constantly provided us with food for long discussions. Since I grew up in the US at the same time as Zomorod (Cindy) and my daughter is straddling Middle Eastern and American cultures while living in Europe, we had a lot to discuss.
I could relate to the pop culture and political background, as well as the location, having lived in southern California for many years. During our discussions, I related to my daughter my memories of the Iranian revolution, the Iran Hostage crisis, and Jimmy Carter’s presidency from the eyes of a junior high student.
My daughter could relate to the cultural differences between the Middle East and the US (she has family in both regions). She could also relate to Cindy, who spoke the language and fit into the culture she was living in better than both her parents.
I had difficulty discussing with my daughter the motivations behind the people who treated Zomorod and her family so poorly during the Iranian hostage crisis, simply because they were Iranian. I couldn’t understand it myself. I hadn’t experienced any anti-Iranian hate messages in my environment at the time, but I can easily believe that Zomorod and her family suffered from such bigotry and that people like that were (and are still) out there. I was so happy that the good-hearted, tolerant, welcoming Americans, such as those who I know and love, came through in the end.
The story was told in brief episodes with short chapters, which allowed the story to move along rapidly, without getting bogged down in one aspect too long. We experienced the political, the cultural, and the personal aspects of Zomorod’s pre-teen and early teen life in short, colorful episodes.
It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel is a wonderful book — educational, informative, emotional, and entertaining rolled into one.
I received a copy of this book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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