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Here We Are

American Dreams, American Nightmares (A Memoir)
Narrated by: Aarti Namdev Shahani
Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
5 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This program is read by the author.

Here We Are is a heart-wrenching memoir about an immigrant family's American Dream, the justice system that took it away, and the daughter who fought to get it back, from NPR correspondent Aarti Namdev Shahani.

The Shahanis came to Queens - from India, by way of Casablanca - in the 1980s. They were undocumented for a few unsteady years, and then, with the arrival of their green cards, they thought they'd made it. This is the story of how they did, and didn't; the unforeseen obstacles that propelled them into years of disillusionment and heartbreak; and the strength of a family determined to stay together.

Here We Are: American Dreams, American Nightmares follows the lives of Aarti, the precocious scholarship kid at one of Manhattan's most elite prep schools, and her dad, the shopkeeper who mistakenly sells watches and calculators to the notorious Cali drug cartel. Together, the two represent the extremes that coexist in our country, even within a single family, and a truth about immigrants that gets lost in the headlines. It isn’t a matter of good or evil; it's complicated.

Ultimately, Here We Are is a coming-of-age story, a love letter from an outspoken modern daughter to her soft-spoken Old World father. She never expected they'd become best friends.

©2019 Aarti Namdev Shahani (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Aarti Shahani’s book is destined to take its place among the finest memoirs written in recent decades - a heartbreaking, hilarious and tender love letter to the millions of people who have made their way across lands and oceans to try and find a new life in America. This book will take you on a vivid, almost cinematic journey that is both beautiful and unforgettable." (Guy Raz, co-creator of How I Built This, Wow in the World, and TED Radio Hour)

"This timely, bittersweet immigration story will resonate powerfully with readers." (Publishers Weekly)

"As it chronicles immigrant tragedy and triumph, this provocative book also reveals the dark underside of the American judicial system and the many pitfalls for people of color within a landscape of white privilege. A candid and moving memoir." (Kirkus)

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Here We Are Review

The book was fantastic! I heard Aarthi Shahani interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition. Steve Inskeep was the interviewer, I think, and it was so interesting that I ordered the book that day.
In this day of out of control immigration laws, the book was even more pertinent. I am appreciative of the author sharing so much about her family, culture, and her personal growth. Also how unfair the legal system can be.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A heart-wrenching but hopeful American masterpiece

Ms. Shahani has written a masterpiece. Here We Are is vivid and colorful - an incredibly personal and courageous work. Never has an immigrant’s journey been illustrated in such detail and in such a powerfully evocative way. The impact of American immigration policy and the criminal justice system are brought to life. While much of Ms. Shahani’s story is heart wrenching, the work intersperses many humorous stories, and does deliver a hopeful message.

As the narrator of her own story, Ms. Shahani is also able to bring life to the story in a way that many narrators are unable. Bravo!

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Truth Rings True

The best told story ever. What a wonderful homage to a father. Well said. Well done.

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captivating

incredibly interesting and sad and hopeful at the same time. Every American needs to read this

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Touching Debut Memoir

This is really a wonderful debut work and I wanted to recommend it.

Aarti Shahani had really created a touching memoir filled with Queens, class, immigration, savviness, determination, and deep ruminations on love, respect, distance, family, and work. Especially in the the post-Obama era, it looks back unflinchingly at historical precedents on immigration injustices, while facing class, race, gender, and modern identity issues with an optimism and determination which makes the entire reading enjoyable.

I'm glad someone so 'young' is sharing this story now, but realize there is going to be another one in her future. She clearly has a Very bright future ahead of her still.

Buy it, read it, share it, listen to it.
It's worth it.