When Skateboards Will Be Free: A Memoir of a Political Childhood

Said Sayrafiezadeh, Author, Saad Sayrafiezadeh, Author . Dial $22 (304p) ISBN 978-0-385-34068-7

In this subtle yet bracing account of growing up in Pittsburgh as the child of two committed socialists during the 1970s and ’80s, Sayrafiezadeh offers up a solidly written memoir expanding on a piece he wrote for Granta in 2005. The youngest son of an Iranian-born father and an American-Jewish mother, Sayrafiezadeh spent most of his life after age three as his mother’s emotional crutch after his father leaves to pursue a single-minded devotion to a cause that makes him “disappear behind this massive workload of revolution” and out of his son’s life. As Sayrafiezadeh moves from cheap to cheaper apartment with his fervently revolutionary mother, he comes to realize that his poverty “was intentional and self-inflicted... as opposed to a reality that could not be avoided”—so much so that his mother won’t get him a skateboard until “the revolution comes,” when “everyone will have a skateboard, because all skateboards will be free.” Sayrafiezadeh’s excellent memoir displays a sophistication and keen intelligence that allows him to walk the line between pain and humor without even seeming mawkish or cheaply cynical. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/26/2009
Release date: 03/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 162 pages - 978-0-440-33839-0
Paperback - 306 pages - 978-0-385-34069-4
Show other formats
Discover what to read next