i'm not a terrorist jobrani book coverReviewed by Caleb Shadis

I’m Not a Terrorist, But I’ve Played One On TV is a humorous tale of one man’s trials growing up an Iranian American. Maz Jobrani and his family came to the U.S. when he was a small boy because of the change in government, and stayed, because of that same government.

The memoir mostly highlighted important milestones in his life and Jobrani generally has a very amusing way of telling his story. Of course, his biggest problems had to do with his parents–a fairly common issue for children of immigrants. Most parents embarrass their children. Children of immigrants have the added issue of parents who are different from American parents and do and say ‘weird’ things.

Jobrani’s family happened to be pretty rich and his dad drove a Rolls Royce which helped him stick out in a crowd. Being picked up from school in a Rolls tended to garner attention, which is not what you want when all you want is to ‘blend in’.

He also had to fight against the family pressures to become a doctor, lawyer or to pursue some other ‘respectable’ profession. So he didn’t have much support when he tried acting and stand-up. Then again, you rarely hear comedians say, “ya, my family thought I was funny and pushed me into stand up comedy…”

While I wasn’t laughing out loud the entire time while reading this book, I did find it to be a generally enjoyable read. There were some very good parts where Jobrani made some poignant points and shared touching family vignettes. These were often topped with some funny observations about his family. His anecdotes ranged from one that made me smile and even laugh, to those that just fell flat. But like he says in the book, not all jokes work for every audience, and fart jokes ARE funny.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and I think Jobrani did a good job of bringing up a topic that he has been working on for years, and that is particularly timely with the ongoing Presidential campaigns. Being a Muslim doesn’t make someone a bad person and doesn’t mean they want to blow up Americans. As a matter of fact, there are plenty of American Muslims out there that adore our country as much as the rest of us. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Caleb is a software engineer and amateur woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Simon & Schuster. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.