This Is What America Looks Like: My Journey from Refugee to Congresswoman

Ilhan Omar, with Rebecca Paley. Dey Street, $27.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-295421-3
Minnesota representative Omar debuts with a brisk and forthright recounting of her life story from her childhood in Mogadishu to her first year in office as the first Somali-American, and one of the first two Muslim women, elected to Congress. She movingly details how her family’s comfortable, middle-class existence in Somalia was disrupted by the outbreak of civil war in 1992, and the four years she and her siblings spent in refugee camps before their single father (Omar’s mother died when she was two) won the “golden ticket” of a U.S. visa. Omar recalls her shock at seeing homeless people on the streets of New York City, and spending much of her first year of middle school in detention for fighting. She describes struggling as a teenager to follow her father’s rules, and an emotional “breakdown” involving the dissolution of her first marriage and a yearlong separation from her family. She credits her political philosophy to her experiences as a nutrition educator for underserved communities in Minneapolis, offers incisive rundowns of her early campaigns, and apologizes for the use of an anti-Semitic trope to criticize U.S.-Israeli policy without backing down from her larger point. Polished and frequently poignant, this memoir confirms Omar’s status as rising Democratic star. (May)
Reviewed on : 05/04/2020
Release date: 05/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-06-295423-7
Compact Disc - 978-0-06-300327-9
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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