Call Me American: A Memoir | Audible Book Review

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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.”

This was an amazing story. I listened to Abdi Nor Iftin’s book on Audible and it is one of the most amazing non-fiction books I have ever read. It was heartbreaking and also filled with hope, and his persistence was just so inspiring.

Call Me American is an amazing addition to the American immigrant literature genre and something I hope to read more of in 2019. Before reading this I did not know a lot about Somalia and so I learned so much not only about Iftin and his journey to America but also the modern history of Somalia. The war-torn country and his years-long journey to become an American citizen is something I will never forget.

It was such an important reminder for me about just how many people live in places like this and are fleeing their countries just for a chance at survival.

“My future was a mystery, but at least I was leaving hell forever.”

I think this should be required reading for everyone. Thank you to Abdi Iftin for sharing your incredible story.

Audible 2-for-1 Sale! | Audio Book Recommendations

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Are you a fan of audio books? I listen to at least 1-2 books a month on Audible and it has made my daily commute, computer work, and random cleaning around the house so much more enjoyable! Above are some of my suggestions that are a part of this great deal.

And if you haven’t read any Brene Brown books yet, this is your chance! The Gifts Of Imperfection and I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t) are two of my favorites and were life changing for me.  ❤

Becoming by Michelle Obama | Audible Book Review

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Quoted from

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States.

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African-American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. 

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. 

Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

This past week I finished listening to Becoming by Michelle Obama. To be upfront, I was a fan of the Obama administration but this book is so much more than that and I wouldn’t call it a super political book in general. This book is about the life of someone who I(and so many others) find incredibly admirable and inspiring for so many reasons…most, not just being her political choices.

“For every door that’s been opened to me, I’ve tried to open my door to others. And here is what I have to say, finally: Let’s invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fear less, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of the biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. Maybe we can better embrace the ways we are the same. It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”
― Michelle Obama, Becoming

What I loved most about this book was Obama’s honestly about so many things, including her ambivalence about being involved in politics even through their time in the White House. Reading this book felt a lot like having a meaningful conversation about life, race, careers, marriage, parenting and being a citizen in our country. I love memoirs in general and find nothing more fascinating than learning about the experiences that have shaped someone as a person.

From Obama’s childhood on the Southside of Chicago to her time living in the White House, she finds the delicate balance of being real but also being deeply aware and insightful of both the challenges and triumphs that helped her on her path of becoming.

“Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.” 
― Michelle Obama, Becoming

I enjoyed this book immensely and although it is on the longer side, it felt like a conversation that I mourned when it was over…which I think is a sign of a wonderful book. I highly recommend this one and especially enjoyed listening to Obama narrate it herself as not only is she a gifted writer but an amazing orator.