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American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures

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From award-winning actress and political activist America Ferrera comes a vibrant and varied collection of first-person accounts from prominent figures about the experience of growing up between cultures. America Ferrera has always felt wholly American, and yet, her identity is inextricably linked to her parents’ homeland and Honduran culture. Speaking Spanish at home, havi From award-winning actress and political activist America Ferrera comes a vibrant and varied collection of first-person accounts from prominent figures about the experience of growing up between cultures. America Ferrera has always felt wholly American, and yet, her identity is inextricably linked to her parents’ homeland and Honduran culture. Speaking Spanish at home, having Saturday-morning-salsa-dance-parties in the kitchen, and eating tamales alongside apple pie at Christmas never seemed at odds with her American identity. Still, she yearned to see that identity reflected in the larger American narrative. Now, in American Like Me, America invites thirty-one of her friends, peers, and heroes to share their stories about life between cultures. We know them as actors, comedians, athletes, politicians, artists, and writers. However, they are also immigrants, children or grandchildren of immigrants, indigenous people, or people who otherwise grew up with deep and personal connections to more than one culture. Each of them struggled to establish a sense of self, find belonging, and feel seen. And they call themselves American enthusiastically, reluctantly, or not at all. Ranging from the heartfelt to the hilarious, their stories shine a light on a quintessentially American experience and will appeal to anyone with a complicated relationship to family, culture, and growing up.


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From award-winning actress and political activist America Ferrera comes a vibrant and varied collection of first-person accounts from prominent figures about the experience of growing up between cultures. America Ferrera has always felt wholly American, and yet, her identity is inextricably linked to her parents’ homeland and Honduran culture. Speaking Spanish at home, havi From award-winning actress and political activist America Ferrera comes a vibrant and varied collection of first-person accounts from prominent figures about the experience of growing up between cultures. America Ferrera has always felt wholly American, and yet, her identity is inextricably linked to her parents’ homeland and Honduran culture. Speaking Spanish at home, having Saturday-morning-salsa-dance-parties in the kitchen, and eating tamales alongside apple pie at Christmas never seemed at odds with her American identity. Still, she yearned to see that identity reflected in the larger American narrative. Now, in American Like Me, America invites thirty-one of her friends, peers, and heroes to share their stories about life between cultures. We know them as actors, comedians, athletes, politicians, artists, and writers. However, they are also immigrants, children or grandchildren of immigrants, indigenous people, or people who otherwise grew up with deep and personal connections to more than one culture. Each of them struggled to establish a sense of self, find belonging, and feel seen. And they call themselves American enthusiastically, reluctantly, or not at all. Ranging from the heartfelt to the hilarious, their stories shine a light on a quintessentially American experience and will appeal to anyone with a complicated relationship to family, culture, and growing up.

30 review for American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sachi Argabright

    Please stop whatever you’re doing and buy this book! I knew it would be right up my alley, but this book greatly exceeded my expectations. I was blown away by most of the essays, and was able to relate so closely to their themes. As person of mixed race who was raised by a Japanese immigrant, I was so pleased to see so many of my experiences reflected on the pages of this book. There were so many little things that resonated with me too such as Reshma Saujani talking about using an “easier” fake Please stop whatever you’re doing and buy this book! I knew it would be right up my alley, but this book greatly exceeded my expectations. I was blown away by most of the essays, and was able to relate so closely to their themes. As person of mixed race who was raised by a Japanese immigrant, I was so pleased to see so many of my experiences reflected on the pages of this book. There were so many little things that resonated with me too such as Reshma Saujani talking about using an “easier” fake name at Starbucks (I use my old initials: Sam) to Liza Koshy’s comments of being racially ambiguous. Even if you’re not a person of color, I believe this book would be great way to gain perspective of what it’s like to feel connected to multiple cultures while living in this country. I learned so much about other cultures and customs, and even if I didn’t know the writer of the essay initially - I ended up doing a lot of googling afterward because I was so moved by their comments. I flew through this book, and was excited to flip the page at the end of each essay to see who was next! American Like Me is a timely and unique collection that has so much to offer.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Peña

    “But what ARE you?!” As someone who’s grown up, especially as a child, not knowing exactly what to tell people when they ask where I’m from after I say, “Here?” or “My family is from Texas, they’ve always been from Texas..” I’m just American, right? “But you look Mexican!” Do I? This book showcases pretty heartwarming accounts about what its like growing up in America and not always feeling American, and learning to love yourself and where you came from. Whether you started out here, or found your “But what ARE you?!” As someone who’s grown up, especially as a child, not knowing exactly what to tell people when they ask where I’m from after I say, “Here?” or “My family is from Texas, they’ve always been from Texas..” I’m just American, right? “But you look Mexican!” Do I? This book showcases pretty heartwarming accounts about what its like growing up in America and not always feeling American, and learning to love yourself and where you came from. Whether you started out here, or found yourself here. I laughed and cried. It’s worth a read or listen.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Krissy

    I laughed, I cried!

  4. 5 out of 5

    T

    Phenomenal collection of vignettes from children of immigrants that are at turns familiar and fresh, rib-tickling and eye-opening. Highly recommend. America: yes, denied sleepovers (but justly so)! Reshma: yes, denied custom name keychains! Glad she didn’t change her name when she entered politics. Honestly, if there is a ballot with names I don’t know on an issue I don’t care about, I vote for the foreign name first, woman second, then just pick whichever name I’ve seen on the lawns on my neighb Phenomenal collection of vignettes from children of immigrants that are at turns familiar and fresh, rib-tickling and eye-opening. Highly recommend. America: yes, denied sleepovers (but justly so)! Reshma: yes, denied custom name keychains! Glad she didn’t change her name when she entered politics. Honestly, if there is a ballot with names I don’t know on an issue I don’t care about, I vote for the foreign name first, woman second, then just pick whichever name I’ve seen on the lawns on my neighborhood. Al: fantastic how-to list for any one as canjoose as I am. Jenny: our special occasion oh so American restaurant was, as my husband has us now calling it, “Redneck Lobster.” My Egyptian friend’s dad would go wild over Outback Steakhouse and their blooming onions. Like your family, can’t imagine eating at a Sizzler-type joint anymore. Padma: I, too, know the Siberia of sitting in the back of the Catholic school church! Randall: interviewing your parents and grandparents is a fantastic idea. I began a blog for my mom but it only has four or five anecdotes. Not nearly enough! Roxanne: “I don’t have a family, I have an army.” I have an army and a navy! Carmen: I also did not learn at my parents’ native language very well because they did not want to be confused and English was more important at the time. Now, I can understand most of it but I sound like a caveman when I speak. Issa: on behalf of Ramadan observing Muslims everywhere (if I have to be the religions spokesperson for everything else, why not this?), glad you gave Ramadan a shot. Diane: representation does matter! That’s why I’m so excited that my kids will see familiar brown Desi faces on TV, in the news, in comic books. Liza: I like being racially ambiguous too! Kumail: I never get tired of hearing about your journey from Pakistan to America and your first impressions. Frank: “food violence” - another thing for me to feel sick about. Jeremy: “I got better and better at tuning out their perceptions and negativity, and just focused on my own girls to shut out the haters.” Good advice. Also good advice: drinking as many refills as you can at the old spaghetti factory. America again: Who even are you? Who told you that you could be an actress, an activist, and a great writer? Ravi: thank you for breaking down the Patel Ponzi scheme! Lin: you are adorable. Wilmer: your dad sounds like a gem. Laurie: [thumbs up emoji] Anjelah: Cholaville sounds fraught with danger! Uzo: Oh! Your mom is the one who uttered that delicious quote “if they can learn to say Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and Dostoevsky, then they can learn to say Uzoamaka.” High five to her highness! Linda: The story of your exuberant father, so proud and joyful about his daughters when the homeland craves sons, reminded me of my own beloved father.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shadowdenizen

    This book is utterly compelling, and came at quite literally the perfect time in our American history. I think this is not only an IMPORTANT book, but a NEEDED one. As things begin to change and move forward in our country (hopefully for the better!), there will understandably be some resistance: change can be frightening. But we can't let that small minority paralyze the rest of us. I think this book will stand the test of time, and hopefully will serve to enlighten and galvanize people to realiz This book is utterly compelling, and came at quite literally the perfect time in our American history. I think this is not only an IMPORTANT book, but a NEEDED one. As things begin to change and move forward in our country (hopefully for the better!), there will understandably be some resistance: change can be frightening. But we can't let that small minority paralyze the rest of us. I think this book will stand the test of time, and hopefully will serve to enlighten and galvanize people to realize that, though we are all different, and our stories are each unique, we are also the same, and each is integral to this democratic experiment. My thanks to America Ferrera, and to all the featured artists for sharing their stories. You have each installed me with a tiny bit of hope.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Charity

    One of the most effective small things we cis white people in the United States can do is to read other people's stories with curiosity, veracity, love, and gratitude. And do it over and over, for as long as we can read or listen.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Madeline O'Rourke

    American Like Me is a wonderful collection of diverse stories centred around the mixing of cultures, oftentimes through immigration. I really was impressed by the variety of authors. Though they're all famous in some way, there are actors, singers, politicians, activists, and more; and on top of that, they all come from a variety of cultural backgrounds—including some Native Americans, which I thought was cool. Amongst the essays, there's a lot of divergence, too. Some short, some long; some funn American Like Me is a wonderful collection of diverse stories centred around the mixing of cultures, oftentimes through immigration. I really was impressed by the variety of authors. Though they're all famous in some way, there are actors, singers, politicians, activists, and more; and on top of that, they all come from a variety of cultural backgrounds—including some Native Americans, which I thought was cool. Amongst the essays, there's a lot of divergence, too. Some short, some long; some funny, some serious, some both; some that played with format. All of the difference amongst the essays only further drove home the overarching message about the value of diversity, and by extension, immigration. It's a timely topic and as someone who is not an immigrant, I enjoyed that each contributor focused on very different elements of their experience with immigration and life between cultures.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mallory

    America Ferrera has put together an earnest, honest, powerful, and brilliant collection of personal essays and stories. I am not sure a book has ever filled my heart so much. So much hope. So much radical love. So much pride in what being an American can mean. So much appreciation of the differences that make up our collective we, and the strength it gives us all as individuals when we come together as a community to share those differences.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    I haven’t written a review in a while, but I’m in tears and this book was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. Every single essay in this compilation is incredibly important and carries so much power with it. I never wanted it to end. Please, please go get a copy!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Gloria Mackay

    Such an emotional journey for both the writers and the reader.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Herman

    We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — and we're stopping a lot of them — but we're taking people out of the country. You wouldn't believe how bad these people are. These aren't people. These are animals. And we're taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that's never happened before. And because of the weak laws, they come in fast, we get them, we release them, we get them again, we bring them out. It's crazy. President Trump American did not cherry-pick her We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — and we're stopping a lot of them — but we're taking people out of the country. You wouldn't believe how bad these people are. These aren't people. These are animals. And we're taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that's never happened before. And because of the weak laws, they come in fast, we get them, we release them, we get them again, we bring them out. It's crazy. President Trump American did not cherry-pick her way to greatness. Instead, we created a system and infrastructure of opportunity that enables the pursuit of the American Dream through hard work. Congressman Joaquin Castro America Ferrera book “American Like Me” reflections on life between cultures come out during the most divisive period in decades in the argument over immigration role in building and maintaining our country. Our Nationalistic President has all but declared war against immigrates legal or otherwise, and he is using the hottest rhetoric he can to excite his base to build up the fear anger and hate for his own political ends. Ms. Ferrera’s book elegantly counters this fear with a lovely collection of stories 32 in number of different inspiring stories of Love and struggle and family. Uzo Aduba your family story is amazing and I want to watch you again in Orange is the new Black, knowing a bit more now about what inspired you. Michelle Kwan and Jeremy Lin, were inspirational in there respective struggles. A number of others Kumail Nanjiani, Wilmer Valderrama , and Liza Koshy, were also short but amazing uplifting reaffirmation of love of family and hope and life. There wasn’t any weak stories among these all were very interesting some fascinating but all very relevant to the discussion of immigration and what immigrants bring to the life of America I think this book properly demonstrates that it’s not a zero sum game, and it shouldn’t be a political football immigration is the essence of the American dream.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Council

    “American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures” takes a close look at personal stories from writers, actors and actresses, comedians, athletes, politicians and more, about life between cultures. Some of the 31 authors were born in the U.S., others came to the U.S. at 10 years old, and others had multiple generations before them as U.S. citizens. But each of these authors share some semblance of one thing: trying to find themselves in two, or three, or more, cultures. America Ferrera, who “American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures” takes a close look at personal stories from writers, actors and actresses, comedians, athletes, politicians and more, about life between cultures. Some of the 31 authors were born in the U.S., others came to the U.S. at 10 years old, and others had multiple generations before them as U.S. citizens. But each of these authors share some semblance of one thing: trying to find themselves in two, or three, or more, cultures. America Ferrera, who reached out to each author to share his or her journey, struggled with finding an image of herself in the American narrative. Ferrera says, “I am 9 years old, and suddenly, I am wondering what do I call an American like me.” The stories reflect on everything from losing their cultural identity to fit in at school – like Reshma Saujani, the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code – to exploring their religious roots - like Issa Rae, actress in HBO’s “Insecure” – to recognizing the endless support their parents gave – like Jeremey Lin, guard for the Brooklyn Nets. “Getting more familiar with the details of my lineage fills me with a better sense of what got me here, to where I am today, and how my story is directly connected to theirs. These stories remind me that I am a person who is here, in this country, for a reason,” says Randall Park, an American actor, comedian, writer, and director. Reading these first-person accounts from “American Like Me” makes you realize how many different cultures are present in America and the amazing differences we must celebrate and learn more about. To close out this review, we’ll end with quote from founder and creative director of Oh Joy!, Joy Cho: “I realized the best part of ME is how I stood out from the crowd.”

  13. 4 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    This collection features essays from many different Americans across many different cultures and identities. It includes actors and actresses as well as sports figures, authors, activists, and more. Topics vary from serious to lighthearted, so there's something for everyone here. I wish it had been published in a smaller format - the large format seems unnecessarily to me and I think it'd have a greater chance at teen crossover appeal if it had the dimensions of a typical book. Come for your fav This collection features essays from many different Americans across many different cultures and identities. It includes actors and actresses as well as sports figures, authors, activists, and more. Topics vary from serious to lighthearted, so there's something for everyone here. I wish it had been published in a smaller format - the large format seems unnecessarily to me and I think it'd have a greater chance at teen crossover appeal if it had the dimensions of a typical book. Come for your favorites (America Ferrera! Roxane Gay! Lin-Manual Miranda! Michelle Kwan!), stay for a smorgasbord of perspectives on what it means to be American in all kinds of different ways.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Not to be all "I couldn't put it down!" but I couldn't put it down. As a white, third-generation non-American, I definitely wasn't the target demographic, but there were still so many moments and emotions that rang true to my life and experiences. It gave me so much to think about regarding parent-child relationships, passing down (or not passing down) language and culture, the childhood importance of fitting in, and what it means to self-identify based on your cultural upbringing. Reshma's, Ame Not to be all "I couldn't put it down!" but I couldn't put it down. As a white, third-generation non-American, I definitely wasn't the target demographic, but there were still so many moments and emotions that rang true to my life and experiences. It gave me so much to think about regarding parent-child relationships, passing down (or not passing down) language and culture, the childhood importance of fitting in, and what it means to self-identify based on your cultural upbringing. Reshma's, America's and Uzo's were my favourite essays, but they're all worth a read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Kingston

    “I think stories and songs come to us at different points in our lives. I will believe they are told and sung in different ways to reflect the mirror we need to look into. I carry many stories and songs.” ••• “Under the description for the purpose of her visit are scrawled the words: to live.” ••• This is a must-read, a collection of 32 short essays of living between cultures in America, that will make you laugh and also ugly-cry at the beauty and grief and life in these stories. More than anything “I think stories and songs come to us at different points in our lives. I will believe they are told and sung in different ways to reflect the mirror we need to look into. I carry many stories and songs.” ••• “Under the description for the purpose of her visit are scrawled the words: to live.” ••• This is a must-read, a collection of 32 short essays of living between cultures in America, that will make you laugh and also ugly-cry at the beauty and grief and life in these stories. More than anything at the end of this read, I feel so much hope at how big America is when we hear the voices of our neighbors, friends, and our own histories. I can not recommend this collection enough!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Beatrice

    What a fitting collection of essays for 2018. Some essays were stronger than others. Despite that, I think all of the voices featured in this collection deserve to be heard. It is important to understand the American experience from ALL types of American voices. This is a book that helps steer a more empathetic conversation about what it means to be an American.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    A beautiful book that I look forward to having on my own shelves and watching my between-cultures girls discover as they get older. All the essays moved me, but particularly Tanaya Winder and Martin Sensmeier (both writing from a Native perspective), and Uzo Aduba (a Nigerian-American).

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    I found my own unrepresented story intertwined in the stories told in the book. There were moments of levity among moments of pain and triumph. It was a good mix and it was exciting reading about people I personally admire that are not highlighted in the mainstream public (Carmen Carrera).

  19. 5 out of 5

    Audi Chastain

    I loved this book so much I’m sad I finished. Incredible.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Punam Sachdev

    Shed a few tears reading this book. Wish I had reflected more on the various immigrant/child of immigrants experiences as I was growing up...didn’t realize until much later how we were all writing our own chapters for ourselves and the next generation...and how different families added their own unique tales with experiences so different from yet so similar to my own. Thank you, America Ferrara for putting this together 🙏🏾

  21. 5 out of 5

    Meg Marie

    So many great perspectives and touching, sometimes funny stories. It's a great collection of voices and a reminder of who this country can be.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Randy

    I love the IDEA of this book. In practice, many of the pieces are beautifully rendered and emotionally rich, but too many are just not very well written which affects their message. I think I may have enjoyed this book better in audiobook form or if I read it over a longer period of time (like 1 essay per week). Spoiler: America Ferrera is amazing.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ruby

    "I invited my friends, peers, and heroes to share their stories in this book so that we might build community; so that we could ientify our whole selves within a larger culture that tends to leave important pieces of our stories out; so that our voices would amplify one another's as we declare who we actually are. We are kids with no key chains, daughters carrying history in the gaps of our teeth. We are the sons of parents who don't speak of the past, inheritors of warriors' blood and mad barga "I invited my friends, peers, and heroes to share their stories in this book so that we might build community; so that we could ientify our whole selves within a larger culture that tends to leave important pieces of our stories out; so that our voices would amplify one another's as we declare who we actually are. We are kids with no key chains, daughters carrying history in the gaps of our teeth. We are the sons of parents who don't speak of the past, inheritors of warriors' blood and mad bargaining skills. We are the grandchildren of survival: legacies, delivered from genocide, colonization, and enslavement. We are the slayers of "impossible." We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors's dreams wearing the weight of their sacrifice on our backs. Our love is radical; our unstraightened hair, a tiny revolution. We are here to survive, to thrive, to live. We connect to our roots clumsily, unkowingly, unceasingly. We call ourselves "American" enthusiastically, reluctantly, or not at all. We take fragments of what was broken, severed, or lost in history, and we create whole selves, new families, and better futures. We live as citizens of a country that does not always claim us or even see us, and yet, we continue to build, to create, and to compel it toward its own promise." "I was beginning to learn that bravery is like a muscle, and once you flex it, you can't stop. And being authentic requires a lot of bravery." --Reshma Saujani "It was a strange kind of poetry how my family managed to eat so decadently on a fraction of the income our white counterparts raked in." "I was a lonely, strange teen who lived mostly in the past and the fture, as both were more romantic than the present." "The loneliness of being different turned out to be more than bearable, it spurred an interest in wanting to learn about the deep roots of racism and xenophobia in this country, and anyway, adolescence ultimately did not scar me, but fortified me." --Jenny Zhang "My past experiences have helped me define what it means to be American. It has nothing to do with speaking perfect English, trying to be the American version of cool, or fitting into a mold. It's about celebrating the diverse cultures and heritage that enrich this country. It's about playing our part to help make it better one." --Bambadjan Bamba "Most first-geneartion kids are familiar with the negotiations of who we are at home and who we are in the wider world." --Roxane Gay "My immigrant parents taught me to believe in the american dream. And immigration is part of the American fabric. Our stories matter." --Diane Guerrero "For my family, the American dream wasn't just a fairy-tale notion or a meaningless phrase. It has always been real and extremely motivating. It was the idea that if you work hard and take big risks for what you believe in, you can accomplish anything. My parents didn't feel like they had this chance where they grew up, so they brought themselves and their extreme determination to America." --Michelle Kwan "To erase us is to erase the evidence of their violence. Once Native Americans cease to exist, the United States can rewrite the history of this illegal settler colony." --Frank Waln From my experience, many immigrants are fearless. They leave so much behind to brave something so new and challenging." --Wilmer Valderrama "I've learned you can be unapologetically proud of your culture, your heritage, and your heart, and you can celebrate everything about yourself without justification." --Anjelah Johnson-Reyes "When you ar ethe child of an immigrant, as I am, you never experience the youth of your parents. You never see them as kids who are in the sweeter side of a parent-child relationship. You can lose this window into their humanity. They are the saviors, the dreamers, and the sacrificers. Not the innocent or vulnerable people."Uzo Aduba "It is true that in Muslim families, women are often the backbone, the foundation, an dnot so much at the forefront." --Linda Sarsour "America did not cherry-pick her way to greatness. instead, we created a system-an infrastructure of opportunity-that enables the pursuit of the american dream through hard work." --Joaquin Castro

  24. 5 out of 5

    Samarth Gupta

    A great coffee table book. Some essays really resonated with me. "Maybe they didn't want me to blend in as much as I thought. They blended in so I wouldn't have to. They paid the ultimate price for my authenticity. They gave up their community, their careers, their language, their own names. These were the steep taxes they paid to make a better life for me. Assimilating in the ways my parents did can invite accusations. Changing your name and hiding your accent could be seen as passive or fearfu A great coffee table book. Some essays really resonated with me. "Maybe they didn't want me to blend in as much as I thought. They blended in so I wouldn't have to. They paid the ultimate price for my authenticity. They gave up their community, their careers, their language, their own names. These were the steep taxes they paid to make a better life for me. Assimilating in the ways my parents did can invite accusations. Changing your name and hiding your accent could be seen as passive or fearful gestures. But my parents' immigrant experience reveals that great reserves of bravery and pride they had in order to survive a new century with no familiar community of support. I think my parents are the bravest people I know. They traded in their names for the freedom and privilege I experience every day. Because of them, I have the platform to be brave. They build the stage I stood on at the PRISM assembly. They laid the groundwork for al title girl named Reshma to grow up and become the first Indian-American woman to run for Congress. They changed their names so I wouldn't have to." Reshma Saujini (10) "That realization made me do some serious soul-searching over the next couple of years. It is said, 'When you submit your will to other people's opinion, a part of you dies.' Well, I was dying inside, because I was a people pleaser. I spent most o my time trying to be something I wasn't just so I could survive and fit in with my peers. I was tying to be my idea of cool. It wasn't until I started studying acting in college that I allowed myself to emotionally explore how this internalized resentment affected my life. As an actor you have to draw from your own personal emotional bank to breathe life into characters. I did not have the capacity of being my authentic self. I usually said things for the sole purpose of having a desired effect on people. I had became a master manipulator. It was hard as hell to acknowledge it and be that vulnerable with others, but it was the most important self-improvement journey of my life." Bambadjan Bamba (35) "My parents' way of saying 'I love you' was to work really hard, to always have food on the table, to make sure that their sons prioritized education and tased away from doing stupid things, like drugs, or one day become a professional actor. I guess in some ways, they succeeded, and in other ways they didn't. But I never once questioned their love for me." Randall Park (50) "This was a huge risk but still not the most daring choice they made. It's a far crazier decision to support your two daughters in ice skating than it is to come to a foreign country with no money in your pocket. Paying for kids to skate is like having negative money in your pocket." Michelle Kwan (126) "And when you're young, you believe what people tell you about yourself. Everyone's expectations become your reality. When people didn't expect me to be a good player, I froze up on the court. But when people like my parents expected such great things of me, I gained the self-confidence I needed to be strong. When people bless you with high expectations, you rise up to meet them. There's something pretty powerful about just being told you're good enough and you belong." Jeremy Lin (161) "As I walked through the village of San Jeronimo where my great-grandfather was born, past the tiny church where he was baptized and married, past the land that used to be his father's farm, past the local community center named after him, I was struck by a brand-new and complicated feeling. I had only ever been taught to think of my family's immigration to the United States as a great gift; to give thanks for my life in the United States and to appreciate what I'd gained. It had never crossed my mind to mourn what I'd lost: hundred of years of history, of connection, of identity, of family, of knowing the people and the land that I came from, of knowing myself." America Ferrera (176)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    This review was originally posted on Latte Nights Reviews. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Wow, I love this book. It's a collection of essays edited by America Ferrera about living between cultures. The essays are written by activists, actors, politicians, writers, and so many others. This book had so many diverse stories; not only were the essays by individuals from different cultures, but fro This review was originally posted on Latte Nights Reviews. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Wow, I love this book. It's a collection of essays edited by America Ferrera about living between cultures. The essays are written by activists, actors, politicians, writers, and so many others. This book had so many diverse stories; not only were the essays by individuals from different cultures, but from different genders, religions, and sexualities as well. "Bravery is like a muscle, once you flex it you can't stop." The stories range from sad to hilarious to uplifting. The contributors share their stories and give insight into the experiences that shaped them into who they are. I really enjoyed reading the book because I loved listening to everyone's different stories, and I seeing some of my experiences reflected in a few of the stories. Anjelah Johnson-Reyes' essay resonated with me the most. She's a Latina woman who doesn't feel Latina ~enough~ and struggles with being proud of who she is. "I want to show the world that being Latino and American doesn't look like just one thing. I don't want other kids to feel the way I did. To want so badly to be more Latino than I felt that I actually was...how can you be more of something that you just inherently are? You can't, you shouldn't." This was such a fantastic book to listen to. It gives people who do not identify with multiple cultures insight into some of the challenges individuals face and the difficulties that can arise from being part of two different sometimes conflicting cultures, and individuals who do identify with multiple cultures stories they can relate to. I love Stephen King, and started reading more of his novels this year. I was excited to read Elevation, and expected to enjoy it as much as his other books; unfortunately Elevation did not compare. Elevation is marketed as a horror novel, and is even a choice the Goodreads Best Books of 2018 for horror, but it isn't horror! There's some paranormal type stuff happening to the main character, but it's not a horror novel. The main message of King's story is about how we should treat people different from us kindly and how we want to be treated. The story focuses on a man, who is slowly losing all his weight, befriending the married lesbian couple the town hates simply for being a married lesbian couple. It's a short story, and it's very quick to listen to, but it was definitely white savior-y. The straight middle class, middle age white man helps the town accept the lesbian couple. I just wanted to roll my eyes the entire second half of the book. I understand what King was trying to do, and the message he wanted to get across, but this was not the way to do it. At the end of the audiobook there was a short story about a man and his puppy. I'm pretty sure this wasn't in the physical book, and is something that is exclusive to the audiobook. I enjoyed reading this short story, even more than I enjoyed listening to Elevation.This review was originally posted on Latte Nights Reviews.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brooke Everett

    Powerful and essential. Everyone should read this collection of essays immediately! With so many of my favorites in the mix - Padma, Issa, Kumail, Uzo, Roxane - I knew I was going to love it. These voices and their histories ARE what makes America great. There's a common thread that's pretty much unanimous throughout: strong, supportive parents and families. Reshma Saujani: "I was beginning to learn that bravery is like a muscle, and once you flex it, you can't stop. And being authentic requires Powerful and essential. Everyone should read this collection of essays immediately! With so many of my favorites in the mix - Padma, Issa, Kumail, Uzo, Roxane - I knew I was going to love it. These voices and their histories ARE what makes America great. There's a common thread that's pretty much unanimous throughout: strong, supportive parents and families. Reshma Saujani: "I was beginning to learn that bravery is like a muscle, and once you flex it, you can't stop. And being authentic requires a lot of bravery." p. 8 Roxane Gay on her Haitian parents: "That stubborn refusal to let me be a fully grown adult who can make decisions about how she speaks sums up our relationship. That she will not stop caring about who I am and how I am in the world is her way of loving me, my boundaries be damned." p. 61 Diane Guerrero on Ariel and Belle: "I related to their dreams, their passion, their long flowing locks, and their need to share their feelings in song." p. 91 Michelle Kwan: "My mom and dad have demonstrated time and again that you don't have to plan perfect transitions in life. You don't have to land flawlessly. You just have to take the leap." p. 131 Kal Penn: "America is the kind of place where the impossible becomes possible. We can take our deepest insecurities, our communities' worst fears, our neighbors' greatest hesitations, and with a lot of work, a lot of hardship, a lot of turmoil, turn them into something incredible for each other." p. 239 Carmen Carrera: "...you were not breaking your rules. You were breaking their rules." p. 263 Linda Sarsour: "Not everyone has this village experience. It is a thing of the past in many cities. People have said goodbye to the village life in exchange for the global life. More and more people have embraced being alone in their homes - a stranger to their neighbors - but digitally connected to people across the world." p. 289 Joaquin Castro: "My grandmother showed me that people who start out with nothing - those who would be considered worthless under new immigration standards - can be the seeds that bear significant contributions to American society." p. 300

  27. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    It's odd, these days, to encounter writing that is so un-cynical about America. With rare exceptions, the stories in this book are overwhelmingly positive - story after story expressing gratitude towards hardworking immigrant parents, telling of success despite the odds, people living their dreams. This feels like a young adult book, an impression that is strengthened by the photos of the contributors as children. It's not a bad thing, although I do wish someone had edited out a few instances of It's odd, these days, to encounter writing that is so un-cynical about America. With rare exceptions, the stories in this book are overwhelmingly positive - story after story expressing gratitude towards hardworking immigrant parents, telling of success despite the odds, people living their dreams. This feels like a young adult book, an impression that is strengthened by the photos of the contributors as children. It's not a bad thing, although I do wish someone had edited out a few instances of "if you'd told me I'd one day ___, I never would have believed you" because it gets fairly repetitive. This book is an interesting counterpoint toward The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives, which I also read recently. I guess there's a difference between the immigrants of American Like Me and the refugees of The Displaced. Which makes a lot of sense when you think about it - it's the difference between going *to* someplace and fleeing *from* someplace. This also probably explains why the least sunshine-and-roses stories in American Like Me are those written by indigenous people, whose relationship with the United States of America is, so to speak, involuntary. All of these are valid and important perspectives, and I think reading both of these books close together paints a more thorough picture of what it means to make a new home for oneself in a country not originally - or no longer - one's own.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    I won a copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway (my first win!) and I am so thankful for it because this book of essays was amazing. As someone who also identifies as being "in between cultures", I enjoyed all the various essays that allowed me to take a glimpse into the lives of others that were similar to me. Similar in that regardless of where you or your parents came from, we all have stories about our culture and experiences as an American. And those personal anecdotes spoke to me so pr I won a copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway (my first win!) and I am so thankful for it because this book of essays was amazing. As someone who also identifies as being "in between cultures", I enjoyed all the various essays that allowed me to take a glimpse into the lives of others that were similar to me. Similar in that regardless of where you or your parents came from, we all have stories about our culture and experiences as an American. And those personal anecdotes spoke to me so profoundly that I could not help reexamine and reflect on my own experience growing up as an Asian-American. I was reminded of the daily racism that my family and I faced, but also of the warmth and kindness we came across from people who did not look like us nor speak our languages. Today, I choose to look at how far we've come and be grateful that a book like this can be published to act as a platform for these voices to be heard. Because their voices, along with mine and yours, regardless of color, gender or status, should be heard.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    4.5 In such a divided state of affairs that the country is in right now, this collection of essays (and amazing women like America Ferrera) gives me the hope that we as Americans are still capable to change. Can strive for better and can eliminate hate and fear. I learned so much from the vast array of contributors about their culture growing up- why they felt they couldn’t truly be who they were and at the same time, be American- as well as the struggles and brave sacrifices that their ancestors 4.5 In such a divided state of affairs that the country is in right now, this collection of essays (and amazing women like America Ferrera) gives me the hope that we as Americans are still capable to change. Can strive for better and can eliminate hate and fear. I learned so much from the vast array of contributors about their culture growing up- why they felt they couldn’t truly be who they were and at the same time, be American- as well as the struggles and brave sacrifices that their ancestors made so that people and their families could emigrate to America. I always think learning about other walks of life will ultimately help better understand and better emphasize with people. We so desperately need that now. (I loved how contributor activist Carmen Perez brought up intersectionality and how that overlap of cultures only brings pride and power). Some essays were stronger than others. I thought America Ferrera’s piece about tracking down and discovering her estranged father’s past in Honduras to be the biggest highlight. This collection is definitely worth a read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Tarnay

    I wasn't sure what the tone of this book would be given the deep divide in our country. I was very pleased that the tone of the essays were very positive. I think most Americans faced some them vs us at the time of immigration, regardless of when they immigrated. Sadly, many people forgot what it was like to be the new kid on the block leaving a not great situation in their homeland to move to a land with endless possibilities but no guarantees. Still, an improvement over no possibilities. These I wasn't sure what the tone of this book would be given the deep divide in our country. I was very pleased that the tone of the essays were very positive. I think most Americans faced some them vs us at the time of immigration, regardless of when they immigrated. Sadly, many people forgot what it was like to be the new kid on the block leaving a not great situation in their homeland to move to a land with endless possibilities but no guarantees. Still, an improvement over no possibilities. These essays reflect some of the discomfort of looking different and having different customs. However, the overall vibe of the essays reflected on the positives of the immigrant experiences, not the negatives. The importance of immigrants maintaining pride in their cultures while becoming part of the American experience. Hopefully the readers take away the positive impact of immigration on all Americans and how we are all better off with the blended cultures that form our country. Maybe a bit more sensitivity and effort to make all Americans feel equally American.

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