Title: American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures
Author: America Ferrera
Bookstore: Strand Book Store
Publisher: Gallery Books
America Ferrera has always felt wholly American, and yet her identity us inextricably linked to her parents’ homeland and Honduran culture. Speaking Spanish at home, having Saturday-morning salsa-dance parties in the kitchen, and eating tamales alongside apple pie at Christmas never seemed at odds with her American identity.
Still, she yearned to see that identity reflected in the larger American narrative.
Now, in American Like Me, America invites thirty-one of her friends, peers, and heroes to share their stories about life between cultures. We know them as actors, comedians, athletes, politicians, artists, writers, and culture-makers. However, they are also immigrants, children, or grandchildren of immigrants, indigenous people, or people connections to more than one culture. Each one of them struggled to establish a sense of self, find belonging, and feel seem. And they call themselves American enthusiastically, reluctantly, or not at all.
Ranging from the heartfelt to the hilarious, their stories shine a light on a quintessentially American experience and will appeal to anyone with a complicated relationship to family, culture, and growing up.
Thank you to America Ferrera and every person that shared their personal story in this book. As I was reading all the stories, I was able to connect in some way with each person. This book is SO important, especially now with all that is going on in the world. To be able to celebrate your culture, to understand it and embrace it in every way is great.
This book touches on immigration, trying to find oneself, adapting to a new country and language and identifying with a culture. To read such raw and personal moments from actors, influencers, athletes, and musicians from diverse backgrounds is eye-opening and relatable even if they’re famous. It was great to see the words Washington Heights in this book from the story by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The neighborhood where my family, close friends and I grew up, a place I will forever cherish. I will never forget the sounds of salsa, bachata, and merengue blaring from a car on a summer night. Older folks playing dominos and dancing on the sidewalks as happy as can be. This book made me think so much about myself and how I identify with my culture and more. It opened up my mind to see how my grandparents, aunt, and other family members must’ve felt coming from Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. Leaving behind their family and place familiar to them and coming to a whole different country only knowing Spanish. I recently asked them how they identify and they quickly answered American. They have been living here for more than 40 years and this is the country they now consider home.
This is a fabulous collection of individuals that struggled and now celebrate and is not afraid of showing who they are through their culture in America. America Ferrera created such a beautiful, honest and compelling book that should be added to your TBR list and read immediately.