Book jacket cover of Call Me AmericanI recently heard an interview with Abdi No Iftin and was struck not just by his quintessential American immigrant story but by his incredibly positive attitude given all the horrors he has witnessed and travails he has endured in his young life. His love for this country came through loud and clear. Booklist gace his memoir a starred review, writing “[t]he author was born a Muslim under a neem tree in Somalia, probably in 1985 (he’s not sure of the date, since birthdays are not celebrated or even recorded in Somalia). He grew up in privation and peril the former, thanks to terrible droughts, and the latter because of a seemingly endless civil war, which meant his life and those of his family were in constant danger. As a boy, he fell in love with America, teaching himself English by watching American movies and listening to American music, earning, in the process, the nickname Abdi American. When life in Somalia became untenable, he fled to Kenya, but life as a refugee was not much better until something miraculous happened: he won a place in the American Green Card Lottery, officially titled the Diversity Visa Program (which President Trump is now attempting to discontinue). How this ultimately led him to America is a story in itself, as suspenseful as the larger survival story that is his life, one distinguished by strength, wits, perseverance, and, it must be acknowledged, great good luck. His story is absolutely remarkable and always as compelling as a novel or, perhaps, one of the Hollywood movies that he says saved his life. Consider his an essential ur-immigrant story, one that is enlightening and immediate. Abdi is an inspiration.”