As I began reading the story, I tend to write down the characters that are introduced in the front cover so I know who is who. After a while whole pages were covered in names that were far too numerous and unique to remember or keep track of. Obviously, it was further evidence of the vast size and love for her family. All the stories deal with either her father or other relatives and Iranian culture, and there is no stronger sense than that of kinship and proud heritage that radiates from the stories. The evolved web of enormous strength that is family is a primary theme of the memoir.
It is not only about her, but her father, her husband, her siblings, her uncles and aunts and cousins demonstrating that she continues that close connection with family and heritage that her father so notoriously shares – without her colorful family and background she has no stories nor identity as they are such a large part of who she, or anybody, is and how they came to be. While I was born in the US, I have family that immigrated from Cuba and undoubtedly many of the details whether it being language barriers, financial stresses, status, physical appearance, discrimination, balancing cultural roots within a new American society, etc. re shared by immigrants regardless of where they travel from.
My mother coming from Cuba at six and going through adolescence and adulthood in a new country faced all these matters that Dumas writes about. Living in an area that is much more ethnically diverse than many other parts of the country and coming from an emigrational family myself, I can readily identify with the new experiences Dumas and her family goes through within this Florida setting of integrating different cultures and races.
The novel was more than just about migrant experiences. It spoke about the awkwardness of adolescence, financial status, the American Dream, sexism, racism, beauty, religious tension, stereotyping, and other issues that everyone regardless of ethnicity deals with in modern day. In result, we got to see a past through the eyes of a young Iranian immigrant girl into adulthood who dealt with common, and not so common, experiences in a classic coming of age memoir immersed in hilarious commentary.