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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. 4 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. 4 out of 5

    Krissy

    I laughed, I cried!

  4. 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.

  5. 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 every everything, 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.

  6. 4 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.

  7. 5 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!

  8. 4 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. 5 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.

  10. 4 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.”

  11. 5 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 5 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!

  14. 5 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.

  15. 5 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).

  16. 5 out of 5

    Audi Chastain

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

  17. 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 🙏🏾

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 4 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.

  21. 4 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.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    A really interesting book of essays about the immigrant (or child of immigrants) experience in America as told by a lot of famous, successful people. It also includes the voices of natives who are treated like immigrants even though they were here before Columbus. Many of essays are also written by people who will be recognized by a lot of people all over the US, such as America Ferrara (Ugly Betty), Padma Lakshmi (Top Chef), Kal Penn (Harold and Kumar), Carmen Carrera (RuPaul's Drag Race), Al M A really interesting book of essays about the immigrant (or child of immigrants) experience in America as told by a lot of famous, successful people. It also includes the voices of natives who are treated like immigrants even though they were here before Columbus. Many of essays are also written by people who will be recognized by a lot of people all over the US, such as America Ferrara (Ugly Betty), Padma Lakshmi (Top Chef), Kal Penn (Harold and Kumar), Carmen Carrera (RuPaul's Drag Race), Al Madrigal (The Daily Show), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton), Michelle Kwan (Olympic figure skater), Uzo Aduba (OITNB), Auli'i Cravahlo (Moana), Issa Rae (Insecure), and Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick). My only complaint with this book, which I admit is personal, is that several of the author's comment about growing up with Jewish friends, yet there are no well-known children or grandchildren of Jewish immigrants represented in this book. Seems like kind of a big oversight.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Ahronovitz

    I didn’t expect to identify with this anthology as much as I did. Growing up, the fact that I have light skin made me feel like I couldn’t identify at Latinx or that I had to explain my dad’s background to explain why i was so pale. The fact that I understand Spanish and can speak it conversationally, but not fluently only reiterated to me the fact that, in my mind, I was only allowed to identify as white, even though I grew up watching telenovelas, eating empanadas, and wholly embracing my moth I didn’t expect to identify with this anthology as much as I did. Growing up, the fact that I have light skin made me feel like I couldn’t identify at Latinx or that I had to explain my dad’s background to explain why i was so pale. The fact that I understand Spanish and can speak it conversationally, but not fluently only reiterated to me the fact that, in my mind, I was only allowed to identify as white, even though I grew up watching telenovelas, eating empanadas, and wholly embracing my mother’s South American and Middle Eastern culture. So when I started listening to this book, I expected that I wouldn’t be able to identify because I have always sort of stopped myself from identifying. But hearing these stories, the families that came from nothing, that sacrificed everything, that valued teaching their children their values and traditions when all their children wanted was to be “more American” - that was me, that was my experience. The stories themselves range from serious and profound, to silly and light hearted. And as much as I related to some of the stories, I appreciated hearing stories from folks whose cultures and experiences I had never really been exposed to. The book itself really focuses on culture rather than politics, which may make it easier to digest for some people, even though this topic seems pretty inextricable from politics these days. Overall, this was a wonderful read and I encourage everyone to read or listen to it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    Thanks to Goodreads and Gallery Books for the beautiful copy of American Like Me. From the Book Blurb: 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. I have been looking forward to reading this collection since I heard it was coming out. I started out giving myself a goal of a couple of essays at a day, before I knew it I had exceed my daily g Thanks to Goodreads and Gallery Books for the beautiful copy of American Like Me. From the Book Blurb: 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. I have been looking forward to reading this collection since I heard it was coming out. I started out giving myself a goal of a couple of essays at a day, before I knew it I had exceed my daily goal every day. These essays are all easy, assessable, and for the most part happy. I really enjoyed each and every one of them. Every contributor drew on the experience of the struggle to be who they were in America and the parents or community that supported them until they got there. A worthy read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    As someone who doesn't have firsthand experience being an immigrant or having immigrant parents, I'm often looking for books that can help me better understand this sector of the population. America Ferrera did a fantastic job putting together a collection of stories from many well-known actors, writers, athletes, etc. who are first-generation Americans. The stories range from humorous to sobering, but all of them are extremely heartfelt and inspiring. In a day and age when the American public i As someone who doesn't have firsthand experience being an immigrant or having immigrant parents, I'm often looking for books that can help me better understand this sector of the population. America Ferrera did a fantastic job putting together a collection of stories from many well-known actors, writers, athletes, etc. who are first-generation Americans. The stories range from humorous to sobering, but all of them are extremely heartfelt and inspiring. In a day and age when the American public is being encouraged to foster the divide between immigrants and natural born citizens, the book is timely and much-needed. I hope many of these writers who contributed will think about expanding their stories for full-length books. Each one offers insights into other cultures that are important for all Americans to read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shaunna Caitlyn

    American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures gives a glimpse into the life and experiences of people that have grown up between two cultures, one being American. I think these stories are so important and came out at such an important time. Not only does this show the racism and hypocrisy that people of color face, even as early as childhood, but it also shows how passionate people are about this country, even after facing racism, and it showed me personally that although there is a lo American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures gives a glimpse into the life and experiences of people that have grown up between two cultures, one being American. I think these stories are so important and came out at such an important time. Not only does this show the racism and hypocrisy that people of color face, even as early as childhood, but it also shows how passionate people are about this country, even after facing racism, and it showed me personally that although there is a lot of corruption and hate in this country, it's still a country that allows for one to have choices in food or to have the opportunity to choose a career that may be impossible or unorthodox somewhere else, but most importantly the right to be whatever you want or are. This is a great book with a lot of heart.

  27. 5 out of 5

    L

    I haven't finished a book in a while for a number of reasons. No small part is due to what is happening in America right now. I needed this book. I needed to hear about the voices who aren't usually heard. And true, all of these people are celebrities or are notable for one reason or another, which gives them the privilege to be heard. Still, hearing about their childhood experiences, about their family member's experiences, really felt refreshing. I really appreciate this book. Also, the descri I haven't finished a book in a while for a number of reasons. No small part is due to what is happening in America right now. I needed this book. I needed to hear about the voices who aren't usually heard. And true, all of these people are celebrities or are notable for one reason or another, which gives them the privilege to be heard. Still, hearing about their childhood experiences, about their family member's experiences, really felt refreshing. I really appreciate this book. Also, the description emphasizes about Roxane Gay's and Lin Manuel Miranda's contribution but, honestly, they were the shortest and slightly disappointing parts of the book. Don't just read it for their parts. There's many more that are a lot better.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kelly 💜☕️

    Such a great collection of stories from immigrants and children of immigrants. So many famous people that everyone knows at least 5 of the 32. You may not know them by name, but once you hear their accomplishments, I realized I knew more than I expected. America Ferrera compiled and edited the collection, told her own stories and did narration for the audio version. So many celebrities: Lin-Manuel Miranda of HAMILTON, olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez, olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan, Top Che Such a great collection of stories from immigrants and children of immigrants. So many famous people that everyone knows at least 5 of the 32. You may not know them by name, but once you hear their accomplishments, I realized I knew more than I expected. America Ferrera compiled and edited the collection, told her own stories and did narration for the audio version. So many celebrities: Lin-Manuel Miranda of HAMILTON, olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez, olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan, Top Chef host Padma Laksmi, actor Kal Penn, actress Diane Guerrero, actress Uzo Aduba... and many more! Highly recommend. Thanks to San Diego County Library for the digital audio version via Libby app. [Audio: 9 hours, 34 minutes]

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sabina

    I loved the diversity of stories in this one, reading about Native American reservations, Filipino trans pageants, Indian sari-inspired prom dresses, and everything in between. But these essays as a collection kind of let me down. The authors are all celebrities, but they aren’t all fantastic writers. The essays themselves are pretty short and read more like a Jimmy Fallon interview or a quick TED talk than an essay. The essays also felt so deliberate about answering a specific prompt, instead o I loved the diversity of stories in this one, reading about Native American reservations, Filipino trans pageants, Indian sari-inspired prom dresses, and everything in between. But these essays as a collection kind of let me down. The authors are all celebrities, but they aren’t all fantastic writers. The essays themselves are pretty short and read more like a Jimmy Fallon interview or a quick TED talk than an essay. The essays also felt so deliberate about answering a specific prompt, instead of a natural story that emerged over paragraphs. It was nice to get a glimpse into the more private lives and identities of celebrities, but as a person who doesn’t closely follow pop culture, it also felt alienating. It was a nice read, but I didn’t LOVE it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katy

    This is such a heartwarming mosaic (or "salad bowl," as one of the essay writers says) of diverse lived experiences. I particularly related to the essays about existing in a racial/cultural grey area when you're not "enough" of one thing but you're "too much" of another thing. I loved America Ferrera's intro when she talks about feeling "half American" as a kid. Buy this book for your kids! Or for yourself!

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