Call Me American by Abdi Nor Iftin

Call Me American

The incredible true story of a boy living in war-torn Somalia who escapes to America--first by way of the movies; years later, through a miraculous green card.Abdi Nor Iftin first fell in love with America from afar. As a child, he learned English by listening to American pop artists like Michael Jackson and watching films starring action heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger. When U.S. marines landed in Mogadishu to take on the warlords, Abdi cheere...

Details Call Me American

TitleCall Me American
Release DateJun 19th, 2018
PublisherKnopf Publishing Group
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Biography, Biography Memoir, Cultural, Africa, Eastern Africa, Somalia

Reviews Call Me American

  • Nancy
    "My future was a mystery, but at least I was leaving hell forever." from Call Me American by Abdi Nor IftinAbdi's Somalian parents were nomadic herders of camel and goats. His mother bore battle scars from the large cats she fought while protecting her herd. In 1977, drought left his parents with no option but to go to the city of Mogadishu. His father found work as a manual laborer before he became a successful basketball star. When Abdi was bor...
  • Dan Friedman
    In his Call Me American: A Memoir, Abdi Nor Iftin provides an indispensable and eloquent addition to the canon of American immigrant literature. Iftin adroitly relates his story of growing up in Mogadishu with parents forced to abandon their beloved nomadic life. Applying his intelligence, ingenuity, and curiosity, Iftin teaches himself English and American cultural tropes through watching American movies. ”My passion for American was ignited b...
  • Katie B
    Growing up in war-torn Somalia, Abdi Nor Iftin narrowly escaped death more than a few times. Watching American movies provided a source of comfort to him and it's how he was able to learn English. But in 2006, Islamic extremists come to power and Western culture influences are not only banned but could have deadly consequences for Abdi. With the help of strangers who have been captivated by Abdi sharing his experiences on NPR and the Internet, he...
  • Linda
    In the dictionary, as a definition to the word "optimist" should be Abdi Nor Iftin's photograph. He grew up in Somalia where he learned English by watching American movies (Arnold Schwartzenegger?) and listening to American music (Michael Jackson). He taught "American" to his friends and family. Once war breaks out in his homeland, he decides it is time for his dream - to move to America and become a citizen. His first step was to escape to Kenya...
  • BookOfCinz
    "Call Me American" A Memior by Abdi Nor Iftin did a number on me. I felt for Abdi and what his family went through and might still be going through. The world can be so tiring at times.... *sigh*This Memior is about Abdi, who grew up in Somalia which is in constant war. We get a first hand account what it is like living in a country that is constantly at war. The hopelessness in this book was palatable. At one point the author described that his ...
  • Nicole O
    This memoir tells the story of Abdi Iftin, affectionately known as Abdi American, who survives several civil wars in Somalia and comes to emigrate to America through grit, perseverance, and a little bit of luck. This book was extremely graphic in the way it described the horrors Abdi and his family faced, in addition to being subject to extreme poverty and abuse at the hand of his schoolteacher. It also contained some interesting tidbits, such as...
  • (a)lyss(a)
    "I didn't want to die for them; I wanted to live in a beautiful American city with paved roads, gorgeous women, money, cards, and jobs."I received a copy of this book from in exchange for an honest review.While I learned from this book and the content is interesting something about the way it was written took me out of the story. The author shares the harrowing story of his life growing up in war torn Somalia and his desire to be ...
  • Nicole
    I had the opportunity to hear Abdi speak with Portland’s Mayor Strimling last month and was very touched by his story. I learned a lot about Somalia from this book, and my eyes were opened even more to the immigrant experience. I’m so glad Abdi shared his story and hope he’ll achieve all he hopes to in his life.
  • Will
    I received this remarkable memoir as a Giveaways winner. I want to thank Goodreads and Knopf.How many of us can fathom learning a foreign language from watching action movies? I can't. But that is exactly what Abdi Nor Iftin did. Growing up in war-torn Somalia, he began teaching himself English at an early age by watching films like The Terminator. His love of American culture, combined with a desire to escape a ravaged Mogadishu, led to a determ...
  • Sarah
    I read this book early as a digital galley thanks to the First To Read program through Penguin Books. In Call Me American, Abdi Nor Iftin tells his life story, the story of a child growing up in Somalia who is enamored by American culture and hopes to someday make it to the United States. It is a remarkably moving and powerful memoir, focusing on the real events that happened during the lives of Abdi Nor Iftin and those close to him. By writing a...
  • Angela Gibson
    This book is a memoir that teaches a current events lesson about Somalia and provides a first person account of what it truly means to live in a country of never ending war.The story of Abdi Nor Iftin's life begins in the livestock holding bush of Somalia. Drought forces his family to leave the only life his parents and their ancestor have ever known and to move to Mogadishu. The life adjustments are significant, but prosperity is reached due to ...
  • Amber Garabrandt
    Summary:This is the story of a boy that grew up in war-torn Somalia and dreamed of the freedom of America. The land where he could talk like in the movies he watched, listen to music, dance, and dream without fear. Watching his family starve, his neighbors get killed or beaten, what drove him forward was his love for American culture- something that would often get him in trouble.When he is one of the lucky winners of a Green card- or rather, the...
  • Gloria
    This contemporary memoir follows a young Muslim man from childhood in Somalia to his almost miraculous arrival in the USA during years of civil war. With a candid and at times even mischievous voice, readers are treated to the enormous hardships endured by ordinary citizens when war breaks out around them. This includes lack of access to schools, missing family members, excessive hunger, and long hard work days as well as growing up with corpses ...
  • Michele Dubois
    Dear everyone: please read this book. Abdi’s story is unique because he escaped war torn Somalia and miraculously made it out within an inch of his life; Others, including his family and friends, have not been as lucky. The terror rages on across the globe in places like Mogadishu, where Abdi lived in fear of death every minute. Read this memoir to understand the brutal conditions people are desperate to escape by seeking refuge in western coun...
  • Kathy
    I received a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.Iftin's memoir of surviving war, poverty, and famine in Somalia to becoming a refugee is illuminating and shockingly free of any self-pity. His writing is spare and straight-forward but because so much of his story is emotionally wrenching, he doesn't need "flowery" writing to effectively convey his story. Despite the confusion and chaos of the war and many of the other situations he found...
  • Bridget
    "Abdi's Golden Ticket" is one of my favorite episodes of This American Life, so it was a treat to read this memoir and learn more about his amazing story. I have a major soft spot for immigration paperwork dramas, especially ones that turn out well...and especially ones that started out as a TAL episode, apparently (see also: 1001 Nights in Iraq. Abdi is a gifted storyteller and his story is gripping.
  • Stephanie Nelson
    This book was hard for me to get through at times, but that is because of the pain I felt inside when I read about the events in the author's life growing up in Somalia.Call Me American is a book written about a man, who as a young boy in Somalia already knew that he was meant for greater things. He literally was given a nickname Abdi American for his love of America, including the English language and our culture. Life was a constant struggle fo...
  • Dorine
    Abdi is een medewinnaar van de DV2014. Onze dromen waren gelijk.. maar hoe verschillend waren en zijn onze levens. Naast een indrukwekkend en aangrijpend verhaal van een leven in onrust en oorlog ook een herkenbaar deel over de lottery en het zijn van een nieuweling in een land. Een boek dat ik ga aanschaffen, omdat ie geweldig is, maar nog meer dan dat als steunbetuiging..
  • Angela Marie
    Beautifully written, powerful narrative highlighting the resiliency of the refugee/immigrant experience.
  • Elisa
    Excellent reading to better understand Somalian history. How brave the author is to share his story.
  • Krista
    I wasn't excited about reading this book, not sure I was the audience that would appreciate it. Turns out, I would highly recommend Call Me American to everyone. This memoir is a first hand account of the atrocities of living with war for more than 20 years. It discusses the complexities of civil war, one country fighting another, and the ever changing rules as warlords and terrorists exchange control, as well as the parts that both America and R...
  • Jp Perkins
    This is an excellent book for anyone truly interested in those seeking refuge in the US today. It gives clear picture why someone would need to leave the home country that they love as well as the struggle to get passage to America. It is just one man's story, and very different from other refugee and immigrant stories. But it does shed light on the truths about this issue that we should learn more about to debunk the falsehoods being put out by ...
  • Angie
    Wow. Socks officially knocked off. Abdi was 6 when the war in Somalia broke out in the early 1990s, and didn't leave the country until about 2011, so he lived through a great deal of violence and survived. Close encounters with soldiers and fighters, starvation, stray gunfire, beatings from his teacher, getting kicked out of his home by his parents. Terrible stuff happened. And yet this guy is as close to happy-go-lucky as you could imagine under...
  • Sam Law
    Summary:True-life story of a young Somalian Muslim man, who suffered the ravages of his home country, and emigrated to the US.Read More Book Reviews on my blog It's Good To Read Plot:Young Abdi loved everything American, so much so his nickname was “Abdi American”. His early years were marred by deep poverty, born into a rural backwater of an already poor country. Although they were poor, he tells a story of a happy life. He describes his pa...
  • Heather Harris
    This memoir was amazing. It tells the story of a boy who was born in Somalia and his experiences as civil war raged on through the country. From there, he defied his parents, elders and the influentials from his Mosque to learn English and became enamored with American culture and wanted to move there one day.One day, he finds an American reporter on the streets and continues building a relationship with the reporter. He begins to tell his story ...
  • Bookworm
    A sometimes harrowing read about a boy who watches movies and eventually finds an actual escape by coming to the United States and out of Somalia. Abdi was thrilled with the Marines came to Somalia and began adopting "American" dress and pop culture, etc. But when al-Shabaab emerges Abdi has to hide any US connections or hobbies, etc. Eventually he escapes to the US.I can't remember what brought me to this book but I think the author must have wr...
  • Clayton Turner
    "My passion for America was ignited by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Hiding from militia fighters in Falis's video shack in Mogadishu, watching the Terminator dispatch his enemies from the seat of a motorcycle. I had no idea that my hero was not even born in America. Like me, he had a dream to call himself American since he was a child suffering abuse -- in his case beatings from a strict dad. Like me, he had Hollywood movie heroes... He taught himself ...
  • Fran Szpylczyn
    As a Somali immigrant who won the diversity visa lottery, Abdi Iftin Nor seems like a man made for this moment. He is not "made" however, he is a human being with a compelling story to tell. I have known about Abdi's story since I first heard him on This American Life. I listened to that episode at the edge of my seat, following the ups and downs of Abdi's immigration story. I have listened to this particular episode more than once. Recently, I h...
  • Amber
    I received a free copy of this via Penguin’s First to Read program. From the nomad lifestyle of the author’s parents, who roamed with their livestock herds, to life in Mogadishu when his father became a basketball star, to the many years of unrest and outright warfare that followed, it paints a vivid picture of what life has been like for many Somalis over the past decades. With that context, it really is extraordinary that the author was abl...
  • Cynthia
    I really enjoyed this man's account of his life growing up (surviving!) in Somalia, & his quest to escape that war torn area & become an American. This book gives some political & historical background to the warring that continues in that area of Africa & provides a window into the Somali refugee's lives......what it takes to get away & what it's like once here in the U.S. It's a quick, easy read & a straight forward/open account... & it's very ...