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Written by Shirley Marina
The predominant theme of the book is the importance of family. Firoozeh's family are exceptionally tightly-knit and not only appreciate each other but appreciate the love they all have for each other. Although her father never made the millions he dreamed of making he told Firoozeh that because of his family he was a very rich man. Everything revolves around family - celebrations, vacations, holidays, swimming lessons, education and every happening that can be made into a celebration. Throughout the book, the importance of family is emphasized and presented as something to treasure.
Food is an ongoing theme and the family's favorite pastime; the author says that if endurance eating was an Olympic sport her family would be gold medalists and they celebrate anything and everything with food. Her father loves to explore America one fast food outlet at a time. Every occasion is marked with food and food is used to illustrate the differences between Persian and American life. Food is an obsession that features in every chapter of the book.
Prejudice Against Iranians
The subject of prejudice was not really an issue for the family when they first arrived as nobody really knew where Iran was at the time and incredible friendship was extended to the family because they were new and unfamiliar with American culture. However, the theme of prejudice underpins much of the latter part of the book as after the Iranian revolution the opinion of Iranians was low; after Iranian terrorists took Americans hostage the family felt more antagonism and although it is not a theme in the book that is constantly repeated, it is definitely underlying in the way in which the author throws in observations and off the cuff passages about the experience of feeling that unsaid prejudices were definitely bubbling under the surface in a number of situations.
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