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Call Me American: A Memoir

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....

Title : Call Me American: A Memoir
Author :
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ISBN : 9781524732196
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 320 pages
Url Type : Home » Call » Call Me American: A Memoir
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Call Me American: A Memoir Reviews

  • Jenny

    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- P

  • Sarah

    Excellent. I could barely put this book down...eagerly anticipating the end when he becomes an interpreter. I have so much respect for the author and I hope his brother and family are able to join him in the US someday. I especially liked his references to Maine and making his life in Maine.

  • Elisa

    Excellent reading to better understand Somalian history. How brave the author is to share his story.

  • Sarah

    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, ...more

  • Amber Garabrandt


    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

  • (a)lyss(a)

    "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 Mogadish

  • Kathy

    I received a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    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 te

  • Marcela

    My favorite book this year by far! Abdi story pulled on my heartstrings and opened my eyes to the bloody history of Somalia and Kenya. I want every American to read this book especially with what is going on in the Trump ADministration. I hope to see more books written by Adbi.