Shame on You

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By: Shahrokh “Shah” Afshar

It is May of 1969. Like many other Iranians his age, Shahrokh (Shah) comes to the U.S. in pursuit of higher education. This is his first time away from his family, people, culture, and country. He speaks very little English, and all he knows about America is what he’s seen in the movies. After living a couple of years in the U.S., Shah finds he is not able to live up to the expectations of his shame-based culture. He struggles to keep his sanity and tries to find some solace in the guilt based Western culture. The readers will laugh and at times even cry with Shah as they follow him in the footsteps of his journey in life. Powerful in its simplicity, this is a book about the clash of two cultures, loss, and redemption.

About the Cover: In Farsi, an ofen used idiom in place of “shame on you” is the phrase “khak-baar saaret,” which literally means “ash or dust on your head.

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Reviews (23)

23 reviews for Shame on You

  1. Steve

    "I read your book in about 2.5 hours…Couldn't put it down, bro. My mom came to the US when she was 16 and was born again a few years ago. If it's OK with you, I'm going to sent it to her. Will be the best gift I've ever given her. Thanks for sharing it with me."

  2. Jim

    "Hey, finished your book! Hallelujah and thank you… I cried myself to sleep reading it day after day. I read some of it to my son as we were driving. He said he wanted to read it too, so I loaned him the book."

  3. David

    "Shahrokh, Finished your fascinating book and look forward to recommending it to others. The book is a profound yet simple biography of what the Bible calls "first fruits" of what is happening within the Iranian culture both within and without the borders of their native lands.

    I can wax on for this but I'll save my observations for later. You mentioned that Todd is in the service. How did his campaign to be mayor of Azusa turn out? You mentioned Joel (Slaughter ?) speaking Farsi? it reminded me of my mispronouncing Farsi as I gave it an Arabic sound. My students at the Community School told me of their Persian heritage.”

  4. Zoe

    "Dear Uncle Shah,
    I just finished your book, and there's one problem with it: it ended. I loved every page. Your structure, your style, your voice, your humor, your heartfelt emotion leaping off of every page… And I especially loved how I got to learn so much about my family that I am ashamed to say I never knew before. Also, I was thrilled to learn about and be exposed to the mindset of other cultures. It was an astonishing work, and I can't wait for your next one. Tell me where to send my money, I want to order a copy in advance! Thank you so much for sharing this with me."

  5. Amir

    "My wife and I just finished reading your book (Shame on You). It was very interesting and we enjoyed it. It reminded me of my own childhood in Iran and it was very, very funny. We don't have any children, but we have two cats and a dog that I call pedar-sag-ha. My wife and I look forward to meeting you someday."

  6. Barbara

    Dear Shah – Warm greetings to you…Just want to tell you how much both Woody and I appreciated your book….I took it slow in the last chapters since I didn't want it to come to an end!!!. But you do have another one, right? Really want to get a copy as soon as possible… love your honesty!!!! Hope to see you sometime

  7. Allyn

    "Shahrokh, I have just ordered “Shame on You” for my daughter Sherene, who was born in Hamadan (or Ecbatana Ezra 6:2) in 1963, 5 months after we arrived in Iran, coming by freighter past Abadan, up to Basra first, and then unloading in Khorramshahr, going by train to Dorud, and then by bus to Kermanshah where we spent our first two years in Farsi study, and the second year with 11 orphanage children living with us. Shahrokh, Finished your fascinating book and look forward to recommending it to others. The book is a profound yet simple biography of what the Bible calls "first fruits" of what is happening within the Iranian culture both within and without the borders of their native lands."

  8. Ellen

    "Shah, There is only one thing better than getting your book for my very own and that is being a sister/friend of the author. So many people read a book and wish they could make friends with the writer…at least I do! Their words draw them in and make them feel they already know him or her.
    But, I'm happy to say that I knew you, I know you and I'm very proud to be one of the many, God priveleged to be part of your journey in Christ. Shalom to you, dear friend, and thanks for sending the book. It filled in so much of what I missed out on by not staying in touch all those years."

  9. WB

    "Shah, my response has awaited finishing the book you have written. It has been an enjoyable learning time for me. You have helped me to better understand the honor—shame culture.

    Repeatedly I would go “aha” – now I realize what was going on in that situation with my Iranian friend! I appreciate that you opened yourself to share these true life experiences which you have used to enrich our cross-culture understanding and bring a conversational style witness to Jesus.

    Thanks, Shah, for the gift of this book which I cherish and value. Already references to it have been entering into my conversation. Clearly the last paragraph commits you to writing your next book.
    What’s more when all is said & done, Karen is the heroine of the book! And to think that we sat next to her at the wedding. Please give our warm greetings to her. Hats off to the author on his 1rst book."

  10. Allyn

    "Dear Shah, I have just ordered “Shame on You” for my daughter Sherene, who was born in Hamadan (or Ecbatana Ezra 6:2) in 1963, 5 months after we arrived in Iran, coming by freighter past Abadan, up to Basra first, and then unloading in Khorramshahr, going by train to Dorud, and then by bus to Kermanshah where we spent our first two years in Farsi study, and the second year with 11 orphanage children living with us.

    Shah, I laughed so many times reading the different chapters. I learned about a new Abadan oil refinery Farsi English culture. I really appreciated your honest reporting of your growing up in Iran, your trials in adapting to schooling and California, your courtship, and even the USA Christian culture!!"

  11. Ellen

    "There is only one thing better than getting your book for my very own and that is being a sister/friend of the author. So many people read a book and wish they could make friends with the writer…at least I do! Their words draw them in and make them feel they already know him or her.

    But, I'm happy to say that I knew you, I know you and I'm very proud to be one of the many, God priveleged to be part of your journey in Christ. Shalom to you, dear friend, and thanks for sending the book. It filled in so much of what I missed out on by not staying in touch all those years."

  12. David

    "Shahrokh, Finished your fascinating book and look forward to recommending it to others. The book is a profound yet simple biography of what the Bible calls "first fruits" of what is happening within the Iranian culture both within and without the borders of their native lands. I can wax on for this but I'll save my observations for later…"

  13. Cheri

    "Thank you for having your book available on a Kindle….I spent this week reading it, and after almost 20 years with my Persian family….your story was like reading about my family….
    I understood and had seen most of the cultural examples shared…"

  14. Ihsan

    "Shah jan,
    Turks and Iranians have lots of common cultural values. So, it talks to us as well. If it was about 'an Iranian in Turkey' instead of ' an Iranian in US' I would suggest to translate it into Turkish. after I finished the book, Cigdem read it in two days. She loved it too."

  15. Zoe

    "I just finished your book, and there's one problem with it: it ended. I loved every page. Your structure, your style, your voice, your humor, your heartfelt emotion leaping off of every page… And I especially loved how I got to learn so much about my family that I am ashamed to say I never knew before. Also, I was thrilled to learn about and be exposed to the mindset of other cultures. It was an astonishing work, and I can't wait for your next one. Tell me where to send my money, I want to order a copy in advance!Thank you so much for sharing this with me."

  16. Caroline

    "Your book is very good. You have always been a good storyteller and it translates well into your writing.
    The book flows nicely and it was fun to read stories that I had heard you tell in person. It made me smile"

  17. Raul

    "You’re one of my heroes and BTW, your book reflects not only what Iranians and Middle-Easterns face in the USA but a lot of other immigrants as well. And by doing it with such a great sense of humor, it adds a sense of “WE CAN MAKE IT” to whoever reads it"

  18. Jalil

    برادر عزیز خیلی مورد تشویق و توجه دختر و پسرم قرار گرفت بلافاصله پسرم با اجازه بر داشت و برد دانشگاه و گفت من حتما باید این کتاب رو بخونم بعدا بهت میدم گفتم چرا برات جالبه گفت در مورد افرادی مثل من نوشته شده بچه های ایرانی که تو امریکا بزرگ شدن باید حتما اینو بخونن

  19. Heidi

    "I read your book in one sitting and want you to know I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was written as though we were sitting, talking and you were relating your story of life. It flows along smoothly and, as I told you previously, I love short chapters."—Charlene

    "I finally finished reading your book. To be honest, I really liked it for so many reasons.

    Summary: I am a swimmer, I have worked at many odd jobs including May Company, my short term memory sucks, my Math skills are a joke, I get the shame based culture & struggled with it for many years, my foot lives in my mouth, being compassionate towards human beings hits home with me, I am married to a fabulous American man, and mostly because I too love God who has changed my life around.

    Many thanks for sharing your beautiful stories with us. Looking forward to the next book."

  20. Paul

    "Just wanted to tell you that I received your book
    and read it through in a day or two – but delayed in
    replying since there could be so much to say.

    Overall I think it's a courageous book in that it
    confronts some critical issues about cultural identity
    and personal responsibility. I also laughed
    out loud in each of the chapters but not so much
    toward the end, more
    around the Abadani themes. It's amazing how our
    lives were entwined, but "never the twain shall
    meet."

  21. Raul

    "Just finished reading your book and I found it both
    entertaining and very educational!
    Thanks for writing it. You’re right in assuming that
    there are lots of immigrants that have gone thru the
    same hurdles and agony you went thru but nobody
    knows about them.
    Your God-given storytelling abilities DO come out
    nicely in the book!"

  22. Gary

    "Thank you for the candid sharing of perspectives not clearly shared before in my circle of awareness. The honest willingness to broach topics most of Americans would not understand. You have done so in a humorous and open way that anyone that can read will enjoy and gain understanding of shamed based cultures… I want to add my recommendation to others of a book that will make a huge difference in your life and attitude toward people with a shame-based cultural background.

  23. Bill Shepson, freela

    "A poignant memoir with deep emotion and lots of humor, this book gives readers an insightful portrait of Middle Eastern culture while addressing the issues of shame, guilt, family and faith. Fast-paced and well-written, Shame on You will provoke thought and discussion, and touch your heart." —Bill Shepson, freelance editor and author

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