Here We Are: American Dreams, American Nightmares

Celadon. Oct. 2019. 256p. ISBN 9781250204752. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250204738. MEMOIR
What does it really mean to be American? National Public Radio journalist Shahani begins this memoir with her father’s itinerant lifestyle after political upheaval in his native India and eventual immigration with Shahani’s mother and siblings to Flushing, NY, after a brief time in Morroco. Switching from public schools to earning a scholarship to attend an elite private school, Shahani was conquering the academic world. Meanwhile, her father’s world was crumbling, and he was arrested for inadvertently selling electronics to the Cali drug cartel. Shahani’s own research into the case calls the accusations into serious question; she describes how her father’s imprisonment and threat of deportation greatly shaped her life and that of her siblings. Throwing herself into activism and her father’s case, Shahani grappled with the complex U.S. immigration system before moving to tech journalism for the distance from what felt like a losing battle. It’s clear that her passion for justice shines through.
VERDICT This thought-provoking and thoroughly engrossing memoir offers the story of Shahani’s experience, as well as those of other families who, though they did not find the American Dream, nevertheless found home.
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