A Beginner's Guide to Acting English, By Shappi Khorsandi

Reviewed,Arifa Akbar
Friday 03 July 2009 00:00

The stand-up comic, Shappi Khorsandi, reflects back on her childhood immigration from Tehran to London after her journalist father sparked the ire of Ayatollah Khomeini, (forcing his family into hiding, with the help of M15).

She dwells on the nostalgia and alienation such political strife brings, through the prism of a child's mind, but perhaps more charmingly, describes bittersweet encounters with her excitingly unfamiliar adoptive nation, it's stodgy food and the peculiarities of the English language ("I spent the days being a 'poppet', a 'sweetheart' and a 'love'").

It is a touching memoir that captures the sadness of cultural transition, from the pain of forgetting Farsi and writing apologies to Khomeini to the joys of learning to speak, and live, the "Englisee" way.

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