Call Me American by Abdi Nor Iftin

Call Me American

Abdi Nor Iftin

Abdi Nor Iftin’s dramatic memoir recounts his amazing stroke of luck in winning entrance to the U.S. in the annual visa lottery, and the harrowing sequence of events on his path to citizenship.

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The incredible true story of a boy living in war-torn Somalia who escapes to America--first by way of the movies; years later, through a miraculous green card.

Abdi Nor Iftin first fell in love with America from afar. As a child, he learned English by listening to American pop artists like Michael Jackson and watching films starring action heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger. When U.S. marines landed in Mogadishu to take on the warlords, Abdi cheered the arrival of these real Americans, who seemed as heroic as those of the movies.

Sporting American clothes and dance moves, he became known around Mogadishu as Abdi American, but when the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab rose to power in 2006, it suddenly became dangerous to celebrate Western culture. Desperate to make a living, Abdi used his language skills to post secret dispatches to NPR and the Internet, which found an audience of worldwide listeners. But as life in Somalia grew more dangerous, Abdi was left with no choice but to flee to Kenya as a refugee.

In an amazing stroke of luck, Abdi won entrance to the U.S. in the annual visa lottery, though his route to America--filled with twists and turns and a harrowing sequence of events that nearly stranded him in Nairobi--did not come easily. Parts of his story were first heard on the BBC World Service and This American Life. Now a proud resident of Maine, on the path to citizenship, Abdi Nor Iftin's dramatic, deeply stirring memoir is truly a story for our time: a vivid reminder of why western democracies still beckon to those looking to make a better life.

Advance Galley Reviews

Call me American by Abdi Nor Iftin is a memoir of a refugee escaping war and terror. The story depicts the dream of America - the chance for a better life and the chance to work hard and work honestly for that life. Despite all the hardships, Abdi Nor Iftin is perhaps the lucky one. He did win the Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery, and the visa was honored. What of all the people for whom that is not the case? After reading this amazing story, that is the question I am left with. Read my complete review at Reviewed for Penguin First to Read program.

This book is absolutely such a timely work of non-fiction. I was fascinated with the story. I would highly recommend it. It is the memoir of Abdi Nor Iftin who is from Mogadishu, Somalia and wins the visa green card lottery to come to the United States. As a child, he was fascinated with American culture and dreamed of coming to American. It is a horrifying account of his experiences and what the dream of a better life in America means. It really was eye-opening.

"Call Me American" is Abdi Nor Iftin's vivid and powerful memoir of his childhood in Somalia and his immigration to America as the result of his luck in winning a visa lottery. Abdi learned English from watching American movies in a neighbor's home and listening to American music. His dreams of coming to the United States motivated him and gave him hope even as he suffered the dangers and deprivations of living through war and violence in Somalia and the frustrations of navigating the obstacles of the US immigration system. I am grateful to Penguin's First To Read program for the ARC of this important and timely memoir.

Summary: True-life story of a young Somalian Muslim man, who suffered the ravages of his home country, and emigrated to the US. Plot: Young Abdi loved everything American, so much so his nickname was “Abdi American”. His early years were marred by deep poverty, born into a rural backwater of an already poor country. Although they were poor, he tells a story of a happy life. He describes his parents' wedding (the meeting of the tribes to discuss, the present of 50 camels, etc. - a real throwback to a world I thought disappeared). Drought devastated their livestock holding, forcing the family to move to Mogadishu, where the father earned a living as a basketball player. They family had to adapt from nomadism to city life, but were doing relatively well until the civil war. Life became precarious and cheap, as Abdi faced death daily through ever-present gun battles, suffered at the hands of an abusive schoolteacher, as well as the spectres of hunger and thirst that hung over the city. He and his family had to deal with great personal tragedy as well, with the death of his little sister. He had to run the gauntlet of violent warlords, as well as escaping the clutches and empty promises of the radical Muslims al-Shabaab. He found solace in his American pop music, and somehow managed to learn English through watching movies (like the Terminator!). Abdi began sharing his life on the internet, being fully and brutally honest about how things were in Somalia. He found a loyal group of friends and supporters, with whom he shared his messages. He talked about the realities of life under extremist Muslim rule, where boys were forced to see everything through the prism of the extremist version of the Koran, and beaten soundly if they failed their “tests”, where women and girls were denied any education at all, where US Marines would one day be cheered by the locals, then mercilessly butchered and jeered by the same populace the following day. It was a chaotic, murderous life, where the slightest perceived infraction can mean torture and/or death. He details the loss of freedom, that is so taken for granted in the West, and how his dream of making it to the US sustained him even in his darkest, deadliest moments. Abdi then details his journey to the US, and how lucky he was to have had strong and loyal friends to ensure that he made it. The corruption he encountered along the way, the official and unofficial hostility and contempt that was inherent in how refugees were treated, the heartbreak of failure, loss of hope and having to start again, and how all refugees are tarred with the same brush of being terrorists in disguise. Abdi eventually arrives in the US, having applied and gotten a visa, but he is one of the lucky ones. He could as easily have ended at the bottom of the Mediterranean, or not have even made it that far. He pushes himself to assimilate, to become a citizen, and is frank about the issues and problems immigrant people face who don’t try, who remain culturally isolated from their new neighbours, and deeply miss their homeland. The immigrants have a real fear of losing their core, what they value, but there IS a need to adapt to the society that has welcomed them in. It is a fine line to walk. However, lack of communication and understanding breeds fear and distrust on all sides. What I Liked: This is primarily about the courage and character of one brave man, who risked all and left all behind, to find a better life for himself. The writing is raw and unadorned, clear in the horrors it describes, but his spirit remained strong throughout. What I Didn’t Like: The author tended to third-person himself in some of the scenes – maybe they were just to unpleasant to remember and write about in the first person? Overall: This book is timely in so many ways. It shows one of the very human stories behind the faceless masses of refugees. It was not so long (70 years or so) since Europeans were fleeing the ravages of war, and as of Dec 2015, according to UNHCR, there were 65.3 million displaced people globally.  It is at times harrowing, but always compelling and enlightening. It is a humbling tale, to read of the strength of character and sheer will to survive. Not only does it give a real insight into the world of the refugee, it also shows that, when they arrive in the promised land, their troubles may take on a different hue, with problems around finding jobs, suitable accommodation, etc., and the expectations from those at home that they will send money back. it is a familiar tale to Irish people, but it will resonate with refugees the world over. Call Me American is an excellent background read for those who want to get informed about the real-life issues faced by people of no power and influence, and I thoroughly recommend it. Acknowledgements: I received a free copy of this book from Penguin First To Read, in return for an honest and objective review.

This is a compelling account of the horrors of dictators and warlords, and the way the human spirit can persevere, cope, and find a way out. Very interesting in light of recent events towards immigration --- great to see the human side of what people endure to get here.

A brilliant book from an outsider's perspective with heartbreaking emotion and realism. I really enjoyed this book and think that many others will as well.

Summary: This is the story of a boy that grew up in war-torn Somalia and dreamed of the freedom of America. The land where he could talk like in the movies he watched, listen to music, dance, and dream without fear. Watching his family starve, his neighbors get killed or beaten, what drove him forward was his love for American culture- something that would often get him in trouble. When he is one of the lucky winners of a Green card- or rather, the chance to apply, he cannot believe his luck. With the help of a lot of friends that he met when he did stories and interviews about his life in Somalia he eventually got through all the bribes and red tape to make it to Maine. Here, he was more free and happy, but quickly noticed differences from his dream. Those back home believed he was rich now, yet he could not find a job to send back money. There were cultural differences, and the ongoing issue of being true to himself and his beliefs while adjusting to American culture and keeping both halves of himself whole. Hard hitting and heartrending, this is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the plight of a modern immigrant. My thoughts: I have no words. I finished this book at about noon and I have been floored. Told by an expert story teller, the bush of Somalia come alive as his mother’s favorite place and happy life. Even though it is far different than what he himself wants, he managed to make her story magical and focus on her intelligence and bravery. The cities, the culture, the clan wars and the civil war are all brought to life within these pages. It’s hard hitting, making the violence of the war in Somalia far more real than any half page news article can. I think that’s why I love books like this so much, really. For me, if I can’t emphasize it becomes harder for me to understand. I learn more about the world from memoirs, blog posts and even novels than I can from most news sources. Not to say that I don’t read them, I do, but I never really get a feel for what the people go through. Here it can’t be ignored. Abdi, with his love of American culture and loyalty to his family is extremely easy to love and root for. I loved the stories about his family, how he spoke of them; and I loved the stories of sitting on the dirt floor learning English by watching The Terminator. His bravery in telling his story, first in Somalia and then once he immigrated, was amazing to me. While nothing was sugar coated, he still managed to infuse the story with his own optimism and perseverance. I recommend this book for anyone wanting to know either what a modern immigrant goes through, or why someone would want to immigrate. It’s also a great showcase of a man wanting to keep his beliefs and culture while still wanting to be part of the American culture as well and how one can have it all. The American Dream, indeed. For me, this is a five star book. On the adult content scale there is a lot of violence, and language- it does, after all, take place in a war area. I would still buy this book for my niece but I consider her an older teen even if she is fifteen. I would say a parent should read it first to decide, and it would also allow them to have a great discussion afterwards! Still, let’s give it a six. I was given an eARC of this book to read from First to Read in exchange for an honest review. I am beyond grateful!

Wow. Socks officially knocked off. Abdi was 6 when the war in Somalia broke out in the early 1990s, and didn't leave the country until about 2011, so he lived through a great deal of violence and survived. Close encounters with soldiers and fighters, starvation, stray gunfire, beatings from his teacher, getting kicked out of his home by his parents. Terrible stuff happened. And yet this guy is as close to happy-go-lucky as you could imagine under the circumstances. He did audio stories for NPR from first Solamia and then Kenya. Then he came to the US, finally, after years of working toward it. And yet, there is no happy ending. But he is safer here than he was. This is just an incredible story, and he takes the time to explain what was going on, so I now have a much better understanding of what was happening in Somalia over the last 30 years. I learned a lot from a patient, good-hearted teacher who states his frustrations without moping about this. What an incredible human being. I feel privileged to have read his story. I got a copy to review from First to Read.

Call Me American is a great story of resilience and provides insight into the lives of those in Somalia and the struggles they persevere if they choose to try to come to the States. It was truly eye opening and shows how important it is to have compassion to refugees and immigrants coming to America. Abdi’s story gripped me from the beginning and it was hard to put down. This has definitely been one of my favorite reads of the year.

Abdi Nor Iftin and I moved to America on the same residency visa. That’s where the similarities between us end. I have written some about my coming to America story, and in Call Me American, Abdi tells his. You may know Abdi from his citizen journalism, first while in Mogadishu, his Somalian hometown. Then, during his escape to Kenya and becoming a refugee. He recorded messages on cheap phones; sometimes while hiding in a hole he dug in the floor of his home. That’s where he would hide from the al-Shabaab members. They would most likely kill him for refusing to join them, and they would definitely kill him if they found the phone. I thank Abdi for his bravery and for sharing his story. I read last week that great biographies start with the parental stories, and that’s what Abdi did. He describes his parents’ meeting. Their nomadic tribes meeting up, and the negotiation for the marriage. It was 50 camels. He tells of their love for each other, and the celebrations they had in the wet season. He tells of his mother’s experience giving birth to him under a tree, surrounded by the women of the tribe, while he father wasn’t permitted to be near. It’s a matter-of-fact window into the Islamic-Believing nomadic, tribal life on Somalia. Most of Call Me American is Abdi’s childhood, teens, and young adult life. His green card win is at the end. He had tried many other ways to leave Somalia and get to America before then but was declined. He was accepted into community college but was denied a student visa. Many of his friends joined the al-Shabaab just for the food or stayed in Nairobi being chased by the police and having to pay bribes to avoid deportation. When Abdi was checking the Green Card Lottery results, I was comparing his experience to mine. I was in the processing year 2010, so we still had mailed results. I walked into my apartment to see a large envelope from Homeland Security on the coffee table. Abdi went back to the net café where he submitted his application and paid for time to check. I’m glad he had the electronic process. I don’t know how he would have received mail from America in Kenya. Abdi and I did the same calculating our numbers to estimate the interview date. His was 47,441. Mine was only 271 in a less competitive region. My interview was in January, and that was nerve-wracking enough. Abdi just scraped in before the cut-off. I’m a little envious that his medical was shorter, but I didn’t have to bribe police to let me on the bus to get there. What I love about Abdi Nor and his storytelling is how sassy he is. There’s a defiant confidence that got him into trouble but also saved his life many times. There’s also a curiosity. The way he learned English from watching smuggled Hollywood movies. He then used that knowledge to earn a living, either teaching English when it was safe to do so or to dance at weddings. Again only when it was safe. He stood up to his parents’ expectations of him becoming a cleric and made his own way. There’s such an honesty and a blazé nature to it all. It’s stories like Abdi’s that we need to hear. I don’t mind the Green Card lottery being dropped if it means more visas for refugees. If we supported refugees, then Abdi’s baby sister may not have died, and millions will not have suffered so deeply. There are many reasons to read Call Me American. You can read it to learn about life in Somalia. You can learn the refugee journey. You can discover how difficult the American immigration system actually is. Or you can read it to learn about an amazingly brave man. Just read it.

I received an advanced copy of this book from First to Read in exchange for an honest review. This book was very informative about Somalia culture during the 90s and early 2000s. During the time of peace, it was interesting learning about the nomad culture of the author's parents. It was crazy how quickly their lives went from calm life in the city to fleeing for their lives. It was eye opening reading about the horrors they had to face as refugees.

This memoir tells the story of Abdi Iftin, affectionately known as Abdi American, who survives several civil wars in Somalia and comes to emigrate to America through grit, perseverance, and a little bit of luck. This book was extremely graphic in the way it described the horrors Abdi and his family faced, in addition to being subject to extreme poverty and abuse at the hand of his schoolteacher. It also contained some interesting tidbits, such as how one little boy from his neighborhood ended up fleeing Somalia to become a breakout star in the Tom Hanks' film, "Captain Phillips". One of my gripes with this book is, it tended to drag on during certain parts of his story. I found myself quickly skimming through certain paragraphs that I felt didn't add anything new or relevant to his life story. Also, I was left feeling unsatisfied with the last chapter in the book. There were some unanswered questions that would have wrapped up the story nicely. For example, what happened with Abdi and Fatuma?! Overall, I would recommend this book to read if you're interested in learning more about the conditions people in Somalia faced during their civil wars from a firsthand perspective.

This was a very eye opening story about how a young man survives through war torn Somalia. Abdi shows such strength and dedication for his dream of living in America and succeeds. This story also really hits home to where we live with such freedom and don’t even blink an eye at our good fortune living here in America. It really made me appreciate all the little things that I take for granted.

This is the true story of how a man born into extreme poverty to a lower cast tribe in war torn Somalia came to the US. Inspired by marines, Ifrin taught himself English watching the Hollywood movies he loved and dreamed of living in the US. His survival and eventual arrival in the us are as remarkable as the author's continued optimism and desire to contribute to America despite the fears raised after the election of Donald Trump.

I really enjoyed this man's account of his life growing up (surviving!) in Somalia, & his quest to escape that war torn area & become an American. This book gives some political & historical background to the warring that continues in that area of Africa & provides a window into the Somali refugee's lives.....what it takes to get away, & what it's like once here in the U.S. It's an easily read, straight forward/open account....& it's very interesting. Again, it's amazing what people can survive through......& scary/horrible what people can survive through, how awful humans can treat other humans. It's a very compelling, enlightening book to read. I highly recommend it to everyone. I received this e-ARC from Penguin's First-To-Read giveaway program, in return for my own independent & honest review.

A heartbreaking journey, made even more devastating because it's all true. A perspective on the good, bad, and ugly about growing up in Africa, specifically Somalia. I loved Abdi's unrelenting optimism and determination. This was an eye-opening look into immigration into the U.S., as well as the plight of refugees trying to escape horrible and dangerous home country situations.

"I didn't want to die for them; I wanted to live in a beautiful American city with paved roads, gorgeous women, money, cards, and jobs." I received a copy of this book from in exchange for an honest review. While I learned from this book and the content is interesting something about the way it was written took me out of the story. The author shares the harrowing story of his life growing up in war torn Somalia and his desire to be an American. He shares how he survived in Mogadishu and his love of American films and trying to immigrate. The tense of the story changes in a couple places and there are times the author writes in a way that's sort of passive as if removing himself from the experience but overall it's an informative read, especially for people unfamiliar with what the US's involvement with Somalia. It's a story that will stick with you.

It certainly puts things into perspective to read about growing up in Somalia. I love a book that educates me while offering up an engrossing personal journey.

This is a powerful and moving memoir about survival and struggle and perseverance--beautifully written with a clear distinctive voice. While it is a difficult read at times (which can only to be expected given Iftin's difficulties and his journey) it is well worth it. Highly recommended.

Abdi's story demonstrates the power of courage and perseverance. The parts about his family leaving their home and escaping through the war was harsh and necessary. Nothing came easy for him. I didn't know much about these countries before reading. I heard about some African women wanting lighter skin. According to the author Somalian women relish it. Also I heard of Black Hawk Down and he gave the facts about what happened as well as the US part in the Islam issue. Iftin's book is dramatic without being pitiful. He is a wonderful storyteller and I hope more readers find this memoir.

A stark unstated memoir of the author's life growing up in war-torn Somalia whose perseverance is inspring. Raised by nomads that moved to Mogadishu, Abdi's daily life has him facing death in various forms such as dodging bullets, hunger/thirst, and radical Muslims. His inspiration comes from American movies and pop music. I didn't know anything about this country before reading this book, so I liked that I was able to gain some knowledge from this author's perspective. Thanks to First to Read- Penguin Books USA for the free copy of this book.

Iftin's memoir of surviving war, poverty, and famine in Somalia to becoming a refugee is illuminating and shockingly free of any self-pity. His writing is spare and straight-forward but because so much of his story is emotionally wrenching, he doesn't need "flowery" writing to effectively convey his story. Despite the confusion and chaos of the war and many of the other situations he found himself in, Iftin's writing remains clear. His tenacity and conviction are inspiring; at many times it would have been easiest for him to join the Islamist extremists yet he never gave up on his dream of becoming an American. His eventual arrival in America is no less captivating, and I was especially enthralled as a native New Englander familiar with many of the places he describes. This is an important story of a Muslim fleeing a dangerous country but Iftin never preaches and never projects any bitterness towards the more privileged. Best of all, it's not just an important and timely book, it is well-written and highly readable.

This book was hard for me to get through at times, but that is because of the pain I felt inside when I read about the events in the author's life growing up in Somalia. Call Me American is a book written about a man, who as a young boy in Somalia already knew that he was meant for greater things. He literally was given a nickname Abdi American for his love of America, including the English language and our culture. Life was a constant struggle for Abdi and his family, but somehow he stayed strong, and kept his eye on the prize. He faced much adversity and risk in his quest to escape Somalia and get to America, but thankfully he had a great group of Americans here who were fighting for him to succeed. At this point the author's family is still living in the harsh reality of Somalia, and his brother in Kenya; but Abdi does everything he can to help to support them all financially so they are no longer starving. This is an ARC that I was given by Netgalley for my honest review. This book really touched my heart, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves reading a good memoir.

Incredible book. Abdi's journey to the United States through famine and war is a inspiring story of perseverance. It's a book in the current political climate that needs to be widely read.

What a book! I fell for Abdi and his struggles. An eye opener and very educational. I recommend this book to anybody, no matter the age, ethnicity or religion!! It really helps to see the world as it is, war torn and struggling.

Call Me American is a memoir that follows the life of a young Somali man as he escapes his violent country, becomes a refugee in Kenya, then establishes himself as an American in Maine. After being obsessed with American culture for many years, and learning English, it was somehow fitting that he won the visa lottery program, and was able to escape to the United States. This memoir charts his early years, and examines the effect that living in a war zone has on one's family, well-being and chances at succeeding in life. From surviving a famine to several near misses with the militia, this is the story of a true survivor. Abdi Nor Iftin's memoir is a fascinating read about what it means to be an refugee, an immigrant, and a new American. As a new immigrant to the US myself, his story resonated with me, and his desire to become accepted, to integrate and to succeed are qualities that I see in so many who are new to this country. I look forward to hearing that his path to citizenship has been successful.

"Call Me American" stands as a poignant and timely memoir Abdi Nor Iftin. Born in a nomadic tribe in Somalia, Abdi recounts the political upheavals that shaped his life. Obsessed with American culture, Abdi gains the nickname "Abdi American". During the rise of radical Islamists al-Shabaab, Adbi flees to Kenya and eventually, the U.S. The writing is wonderful-- Iftin really draws the reader in with descriptions of Somalia's landscape and history. From living on the streets of Mogadishu to working construction in Maine, Abdi Nor Iftin shows a true hard-working spirit and it is easy to appreciate his memoir. It shows that the author has navigated both Somalian and American culture. I was fascinated reading his account. Refugees and immigration are complex and politically charged issues. Iftin covers these and shows a hopeful eye toward the future in the epilogue. Highly recommended for all adults, even those less inclined to memoirs.

I wasn't excited about reading this book, not sure I was the audience that would appreciate it. Turns out, I would highly recommend Call Me American to everyone. This memoir is a first hand account of the atrocities of living with war for more than 20 years. It discusses the complexities of civil war, one country fighting another, and the ever changing rules as warlords and terrorists exchange control, as well as the parts that both America and Russia have played in this on going war. It discusses the complexities and loss of freedoms from being Muslim to having extremist Muslims take over. It discusses some aspects that all Muslims believe that maybe we as Americans, especially women, and mothers, should not easily accept, such no education for girls and the only education for boys as being beaten to memorize the Koran. We learn about the hopes, dreams, hard work, and intervention that it takes to get out of a war torn country to the freedom of America or Europe, and the heartbreak and fear when it doesn't all come together. Abdi Nor Iftin is very honest about his mixed feelings and actions throughout his life. From desiring nothing more than coming to America and cheering the Marines that landed in Mogadishu to aid the citizens, to then cheering the warlords that shot down the Blackhawks and dragged those same Marines through the streets of Mogadishu. He also tells us how terrorists do use refugee programs as cover to commit further atrocities in countries that are trying to aid people like him. Which causes all kinds of problems for the refugees. We learn of the corruption that goes with each and every step of the refugee programs. He discusses the fact that many refugees don't want to assimilate once they immigrate to another country and the problems that can cause. While many of these topics are just touched on, it gives the reader a lot to think about. As citizens of free countries, I think we should read this book to give us a better understanding of the horrors that these war torn countries face, and understand the complexities of the terrorism that can spread and the feelings of the refugees that are accepted into our countries. Facing the facts, and getting better understanding can lead us to better solutions to any aid or succor we offer. Thank you Abdi, for an honest look at such complex issues, I'm glad that you made it to America and work so hard to assimilate while feeling the loss of your own country, you are a brave man.

This book is a memoir that teaches a current events lesson about Somalia and provides a first person account of what it truly means to live in a country of never ending war. The story of Abdi Nor Iftin's life begins in the livestock holding bush of Somalia. Drought forces his family to leave the only life his parents and their ancestor have ever known and to move to Mogadishu. The life adjustments are significant, but prosperity is reached due to the athleticism of Abdi's father. This balance is up ended once political upheaval tears the country apart. Citizens are caught in the cross fire, and the trials and worries continue for Abdi, even once he is able to immigrate to the United States. I learned so much about Somalia, Kenya, immigration, and Islam from reading this book. It's worth reading a second, even third time. Even with all of the hardships and the constant worries of survival, Abdi manages to find niches of enjoyment. It was particularly interesting to read about how Abdi was able to self teach the English language and familiarize himself with American culture. It's an incredible account.

Growing up in war-torn Somalia, Abdi Nor Iftin narrowly escaped death more than a few times. Watching American movies provided a source of comfort to him and it's how he was able to learn English. But in 2006, Islamic extremists come to power and Western culture influences are not only banned but could have deadly consequences for Abdi. With the help of strangers who have been captivated by Abdi sharing his experiences on NPR and the Internet, he is able to flee to Kenya and eventually finds his way to America via the visa lottery. But does the land of the free meet Abdi's expectations? I feel like whatever I write in this review won't do this book justice. I really hope this book finds an audience because Abdi's life story is incredible and one worth reading. I read memoirs frequently, including ones that take place in war-torn countries, and I would place this book among the very best I have read in the genre. It took me on a roller coaster of emotions. His descriptions of his life growing up are heartbreaking but through it all his spirit somehow remains unbreakable. I can't say enough good things about this book and it's one I highly recommend! Thank you First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy!

I read this book early as a digital galley thanks to the First To Read program through Penguin Books. In Call Me American, Abdi Nor Iftin tells his life story, the story of a child growing up in Somalia who is enamored by American culture and hopes to someday make it to the United States. It is a remarkably moving and powerful memoir, focusing on the real events that happened during the lives of Abdi Nor Iftin and those close to him. By writing about what he witnessed in such a raw and open way, Iftin teaches individuals who are not entirely (or even partially) aware of the history of Somalia the severity of what conditions have been like there for the past quarter of a decade. It opens the eyes of readers to the importance of open mindedness and open borders to immigrants and refugees, especially those from nations that have been so politely labeled by some American politicians as “shithole countries.” Regardless of your usual reading habits, Call Me American is an important book that I cannot recommend enough. Book by Abdi Nor Iftin (abdi_iftin on twitter) To be published by Penguin Books and Penguin Random House on June 19th, 2018


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