A Beginner's Guide To Acting English Paperback – 2 Jul 2009
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"Britain's best young female comic by any yardstick" (Guardian)
"[Shappi] has a fascinating story to tell, married to one of the warmest, most engaging performance styles I have seen" (Observer)
"filled with laughter, wonder and compassion...It plunges us into the vibrant heart of a loud, loving Iranian family and vividly recreates the experience of being a child torn between vastly different cultures"See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The front cover suggests comedy. Perhaps some farce, with quotes lauding Britains Best Young Female Comic.
Within a few pages, I realised that I shouldn't have judged the book by its cover.
To clarify, Shappi is Iranian, she has an older brother, a mother, and her father is a famous satirical poet and cartoonist (in Iran at least). We join the family in Iran; everything is viewed through Shappi's pre-school eyes. Once I'd got over the fact that there was no way that Shappi could have remembered all this detail, and that much of her material must have been passed down from family, I really got into the sights, sounds and smells of Tehran.
The Khorsandis move to London at the time that the Ayatollah takes over rulership from the Shah. The childlike innocence with which Shaparak views everything is beautiful. There is no partisan view, no political standpoint. The view is always "If the Ayatollah met my Baba (dad), he'd find him really funny too."
In London they are dismissed as "Pakis", "terrorists" and suffer other verbal abuse. But Shappi and her brother are still just kids, and play just like kids. Even while the police tell them to disappear because of death threats.
My favourite quote comes as Hadi Khorsandi checks under his car for bombs. "Do any of you know what a bomb looks like?" "No." comes the reply. "Neither do I." But such gallows humour is always followed by a sigh of relief when the car doesn't blow up.
Charming, enjoyable, delightful. These are all how this book should be described. Shappi's affection for her friends, family and her homeland is touching and inspiring.
1) I'm a massive Shappi fan
2) I'm half Iranian
3) I needed something to help me procrastinate from the masses of coursework I have to complete
I started reading at 9pm whilst waiting for Big Brother to start and was so absorbed by the time 9.25pm came that I forgot to even switch on the TV. I was crying with laughter, crying tears of joy for all the sad bits, and cried just a little bit more as the hilarious stories of growing up with Iranian parents (in my case, just the one Iranian influence) reminded me of my own childhood.
Recommended to ANYONE, but beware of getting so hooked that you read the WHOLE thing in one sitting....it's now 5.23am and I just had to share my joy now that I've finished.
RAVING REVIEW FOR SHAPPI.....Fan-bloody-tastic!!!!xx
Shapi brings Iran under the Shah before the extremist regime that followed, to life in a way that delights the heart and enlightens. Her huge family all have stories to tell that explain so much about Iranian culture and history. The way that it is written is so clever. The author doesn't shy away from the sadness the fear or the tragedy but manages to weave them into the love, fun, compassion and comedy of her life with her amazing parents, brother, extended family and friends.
She has captured brilliantly the thoughts and emotions and wonderful logic of herself as a child in the middle of a complex political situation, trying to understand what is going on as well as trying to embrace a strange culture. It is clear that love, compassion and generosity of spirit kept this family triumphant in the face of much adversity. I finished this book a little wiser and feeling that there was much we could learn from this amazing family
When I finish a book it normally goes to the local charity shop but this one has been added to the 4 or 5 special books saved on my shelf because I know I will want to read them again later.
Shappi tells the story of how it was like to be a five year old growing up in a strange country. Not knowing what anyone was saying to her. Eating strange sandwiches made from white bread that tastes like foam and yellow rubbery cheese.
Of how scared she was when her family had to go into hiding from hit men but even that brought a smile when I realised her father was telling everyone where he was hiding so they could still call round to see him.
Even if you only buy one book this year, make sure its this one
I have lent my copy out several times and everyone who has borrowed the book found it hilarious. I hope she writes some more.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I couldn't help being drawn to both the similarities and differences to my own Iranian-British upbringing. Read morePublished 2 months ago by SB from Surrey
Shappi has such an interesting life story, and this book is incredibly well written. She clearly inherited her father's talent. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Red87
Amazing insights and memories with a brilliant way of recounting from a child's perspective. I feel like I have so much about Iran too, really enjoyed this book.Published 17 months ago by Joanne Millea
Could nit put this book down. Really opens your eyes to what these people have and still have to go through.Published 18 months ago by Jackiemay