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5.0 out of 5 starsDo yourself a favor and read this book.
Reviewed in the United States on July 7, 2018
Once upon a time I was an avid reader of non-fiction. Now, as a 70 something senior, I gravitate toward lighter escapism fiction. I heard about this book on NPR and decided to check it out on Amazon. It was all the positive reviews without a single 3 stars or lower that prompted me to download it to my Kindle. Am I glad I did. The writing flowed, the story captivated. I could not bring myself to put it down. If like me you rarely or never read memoirs or non-fiction, I urge you to make an exception and read Call Me American. It is a heart wrenching story of what it is like to live in a war-torn country. It is also a story of hope and perseverance that will lift your spirits. I hope Mr. Iftin has another amazing book in the works.
5.0 out of 5 starsA shining book written by a remarkable man.
Reviewed in the United States on July 3, 2018
Full disclosure.....I have met the author but that is entirely beside the point because this book shines on its own merits. Abdi writes beautifully as he tells the brutal tale of his childhood in war ravaged Somalia Even when he moved on to Kenya it was still a perilous time for him. He wanted so badly to become American which was a land he knew from watching movies. Through chance and a good bit of luck he found support through the BBC and NPR before he won his golden ticket to get a visa to move to the country of his dreams. Once in the US he had to make many adjustments as he learned to live in Maine. This whole life experience would have broken many but instead it made Abdi stronger and instead of hardening his heart the adversity made his heart bigger. Please read this book....you will not regret it.
5.0 out of 5 starsIncredible, true and life-affirming
Reviewed in the United States on July 1, 2018
I first heard of Abdi on NPR. I sat in my grocery's store's parking lot for 50 min. to hear the whole interview by a British reporter as he talked every few days with Abdi while he was still in Kenya and trying to get his green card. It was scary, astonishing and life-affirming. Abdi is now in the US and I hope to hear him at a book signing in Tempe or Phoenix, AZ. He writes so well. Do NOT MISS this book.
5.0 out of 5 starsHeartwarming and heart wrenching, the most important book I've read in years
Reviewed in the United States on August 19, 2018
I couldn't put down this memoir once I'd picked it up. Like others, I bought this book after hearing the author's story on NPR. I needed to hear what happened after he made it to America: what was life like? Where did he go, what did he do? These questions were answered, but just as compelling was everything that preceded the NPR story: his parents' lives in the bush herding animals, his early years in Mogadishu, and his family's survival through decades of war.
Before I opened the cover I knew little of Somalia, and it is now a country that has texture and taste in my mind. For most of the book I felt a sense of anger and mourning due to the senseless violence, the US's role in destabilizing the country, and the utter destruction of a vibrant culture and people. But the author helped paint a picture--his picture--of a nation that could rise again, and of a rich future for his homeland. The book leaves the reader with this hope, in spite of an epilogue filled with foreboding following the 2016 election and growing anti-immigrant rhetoric: a fear that he never thought he'd find in the US.
I am grateful for this story for many reasons: to know and appreciate a beautiful culture I didn't know existed; for the reminder of why it's important to resist extremism and hateful rhetoric; and as a reminder to practice empathy towards others. This book has also left me with a heavy question: knowing these lessons, what will I do with it? To that, I do not yet have an answer.
5.0 out of 5 starsMesmerizing, horrifying. An essential education for westerners about migration crisis. Couldn't put it down.
Reviewed in the United States on July 10, 2018
This is an incredible, true story of a young boy, born in Mogadishu, Somalia just as his country is being torn apart by civil war. He miraculously survives the constant barrage of warfare surrounding him, suffering devastating losses, and witnessing horror after horror. Somehow, this child, recognizing the futility of the tribal warfare, grasps onto the few elements of American culture that he can find, teaches himself English, and imagines a future for himself in America. You have to read the book, but you will understand, it is nothing short of incredible that he actually makes it. I learned so much from his story. It's clear to me now that we need to become a more welcoming country for these incredible people from desperate war torn areas. More people need to read this book.
5.0 out of 5 starsInspiring, eye-opening, and incredibly raw -- Couldn't put this book down.
Reviewed in the United States on July 17, 2018
I have read a lot of memoirs and novels, but have never read anything like this book before. It has opened my eyes to what those seeking asylum in America endure. I thought I knew, just anecdotally from news stories, but I didn't know. I still can't truly know, because to know is to experience. But Abdi Iftin has invited us into his life with a stunning memoir, and he's done it through beautiful and thoughtful writing. This book also gave me a perspective on America that I have never considered, and I hope it will allow me not to take for granted our freedoms and the peace in which we are so fortunate to live, and so many died to ensure for us. To this brave young man: thank you for writing this book. I wish you much peace and hope your family is safe and healthy. To anyone considering reading this book: I can't recommend it enough.
5.0 out of 5 starsEYE-OPENING JOURNEY TO CITIZENSHIP
Reviewed in the United States on June 25, 2019
Abdi Iftin's story, superbly told in his second language, is an inspiration to all who read it. For people who share his goal of coming to America, it is a reminder that the impossible may still be possible. For those of us who are citizens of this remarkable country, it is a reminder to cherish what can so easily be taken for granted. The tale of his upbringing in Somalia is horrifying on so many levels, yet his creative personality and his efforts to control his own destiny make it a fascinating insight into what success in the world entails.I heard Abdi speak at a library program in Southwest harbor, Maine (his new home state) and was delighted, (along with the other 100 people who packed the venue) to hear him speak. His charming manner and positive outlook created a long line to purchase the book. (sold out - I bought it from Amazon) The author's story is engaging and important. When Abdi becomes a citizen in August of 2019, America will be a richer country!
5.0 out of 5 starsA touching telling of the life and times of Abdi American in Somalia
Reviewed in India on February 2, 2021
Stories of normal people coming from disfunctional or distraught countries gives an insight into the struggles of people there. So many anecdotes of Abdi's life made me feel to count my blessings, and so many others made me feel how similar Somalians lifestyle is to Indians, maybe not the India of today, but the life i had as a kid, definitely only thr good parts of Somalians life, the troubles they go through are really disheartening to read.