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Here we are : American dreams, American nightmares

by Shahani, Aarti Namdev,

Format: Print Book 2019
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Summary

Here We Are is a heart-wrenching memoir about an immigrant family's American Dream, the justice system that took it away, and the daughter who fought to get it back, from NPR correspondent Aarti Namdev Shahani.

The Shahanis came to Queens--from India, by way of Casablanca--in the 1980s. They were undocumented for a few unsteady years and then, with the arrival of their green cards, they thought they'd made it. This is the story of how they did, and didn't; the unforeseen obstacles that propelled them into years of disillusionment and heartbreak; and the strength of a family determined to stay together.

Here We Are: American Dreams, American Nightmares follows the lives of Aarti, the precocious scholarship kid at one of Manhattan's most elite prep schools, and her dad, the shopkeeper who mistakenly sells watches and calculators to the notorious Cali drug cartel. Together, the two represent the extremes that coexist in our country, even within a single family, and a truth about immigrants that gets lost in the headlines. It isn't a matter of good or evil; it's complicated.

Ultimately, Here We Are is a coming-of-age story, a love letter from an outspoken modern daughter to her soft-spoken Old World father. She never expected they'd become best friends.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "NPR correspondent Shahani and her family arrived in Queens in the 1980s from India. Her parents had left an abusive family situation behind, and planned to start over in New York with their three children. Though both parents spoke multiple languages and had been successful in India, they struggled to support the family after settling in the U.S. After a few false starts, Shahani's father opened an electronics store with his brother. But suddenly, the family's American Dream shattered: Shahani's father and uncle were arrested for selling goods to members of a drug cartel. Despite the flimsy case against them, their lawyer advised the two men to accept a plea bargain and serve time in Rikers Island. Shahani's memoir chronicles the long-term effects of the arrest and imprisonment which the judge later explained could have been easily avoided on the family's life for decades after. Shahani balances an extremely personal story with a journalistic attention to detail. Here We Are is an American story of immigration, familial loyalty, and strength in the face of injustice.--Laura Chanoux Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In this tragedy-tinged debut memoir, NPR technology correspondent Shahani discusses her father's 1996 arrest for selling electronics to the Cali cartel of Colombia and the ways in which these events shaped Shahani's life. Shahani's family immigrated from India to New York City in 1981, where her father opened a wholesale electronics store and began selling such items as calculators and watches to customers who he later learned were cartel members. His arrest set in motion a legal nightmare that sent the author on a mission to prevent her father, who wasn't a U.S. citizen, from being deported and to help other families in similar predicaments. Shahani discovers years after her father accepted a plea bargain and served eight months at Rikers Island that he may not have had to serve time at all had his lawyer worked harder to show that the case was thin. In a conversational tone, the book exposes the ugliness of the criminal justice system, which pressures defendants to take plea bargains. The author discusses becoming a journalist and building the kind of successful career her father never had and ends with a letter to her father, who eventually became a U.S. citizen and "whose ups and down taught me how the world really works." This timely, bittersweet immigration story will resonate powerfully with readers. (Oct.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Shahani, Aarti Namdev.
Shahani, Aarti Namdev -- Family.
East Indian Americans -- Biography.
Immigrants -- United States -- Biography.
Fathers and daughters -- United States -- Biography.
Radio journalists -- United States -- Biography.
Autobiographies.
Publisher New York :2019
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description 245 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
ISBN 9781250204752
1250204755
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