American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures

336p. Gallery. Sept. 2018. Tr $26. ISBN 9781501180910.
An anthology of short, personal essays by first- and second-generation immigrants or members of marginalized communities, most of whom are celebrated actors, activists, authors, and athletes. Ferrera (of Ugly Betty and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants fame) starts the collection with a breezy entry on the origins of her name and the microagressions, and even overt racism, that it has inspired over the years. Most of these pieces discuss the awkward and difficult in-between spaces the contributors have often occupied, mostly involuntarily, because of their family's country of origin or place in the majority white United States. The selections range in length and topic, touching on first crushes, holiday celebrations, intergenerational clashes, financial struggle, religious observance, and more. What unites these short works is the inherent pride in being part of "America," but also the acknowledgement that this nation often fails to live up to the promise of its founders. Teens will find lots to connect with, as many of the entries focus on childhood, coming of age, and the growing pains that accompany adolescence and identity formation.
VERDICT A strong selection where anthologies and personal essay collections have a readership; a good choice for supplementing civics courses.

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