Americanized: Rebel without a Green Card by Sara Saedi

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Americanized: Rebel without a Green Card by Sara Saedi
Knopf, 2018

This breezy memoir about growing up Iranian American in Northern California is shot through with Sara’s family’s struggles to secure legal status.

Much of Sara’s teen life has the same concerns as any other American teen – why doesn’t the boy I like like not like like me in return? How come my older sister is so much cooler than me? What am I going to do with my life? Is my nose too big?

But there is a dark underside as well, as her loving parents, who left Iran and sought political asylum during the 1979 revolution, will go to any length to secure a green card, including getting divorced (and later remarrying because it proved to be unnecessary).

We are welcomed into Sara’s large extended family, getting some of the background of their lives in pre-revolutionary Iran as well as how they have integrated their culture into their Bay Area home, giving a picture of Tehran and Iranians that is far closer to Western life than the terrorists shown in the news.

Topping and tailing the memoir is a brief history of post-colonial Iran and a primer on the complexities of immigration status.

By making her background open and accessible, Sara offers both a mirror and a window for American teen readers.

Reviewed from an ARC

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