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The Good Immigrant: 26 Writers Reflect on America

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  1,529 ratings  ·  212 reviews
An urgent collection of essays by first and second-generation immigrants, exploring what it's like to be othered in an increasingly divided America.

From Trump's proposed border wall and travel ban to the marching of White Supremacists in Charlottesville, America is consumed by tensions over immigration and the question of which bodies are welcome. In this much-anticipated
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by Little, Brown and Company
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Anat A 2nd generation immigrant is a US-born person with foreign born parents. For example, my husband would be considered a 2nd generation immigrant. He w…moreA 2nd generation immigrant is a US-born person with foreign born parents. For example, my husband would be considered a 2nd generation immigrant. He was born in Brooklyn, NY but both of his parents were born in Guyana, South America and moved here prior to his birth. (less)

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An excellent and timely essay collection. Of course it's timely, it was put together as a way of providing another point in the midst of current events regarding immigration. This book is not trying to be a commentary on US immigration policy. It's purpose is to provide a view into the immigrant experience in America. Some of the stories are about the impact of the culture on the upbringing of the daughters and sons of immigrants. What is life in America like for families from other countries/cu ...more
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Look at me, reading nonfiction. Being all smart and educated and shit.

Anyway, I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed a LOT of these stories, or should I call them essays now that I'm a fancy-schmancy adult reader? A lot of the chapters were 5/5 powerful, stirring, insightful, beautifully written and thought-provoking reads. I've even found a few authors that I know I definitely want to read more from now. However, not all of the entries were on
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You know that feeling when you finish a book and you want to give the book a really big hug? That’s how I felt about The Good Immigrant USA except I wanted to hug all 27 contributors/editors. I was able to read familiar names: Fatimah Asghar, Alexander Chee, Jenny Zhang, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Chigozie Obioma, while also discovering new names: Priya Minhas, Jim St. Germain, Daniel José Older, Jade Chang, and so many more.

26 writers reflect on America, grounded in their personal and family experienc
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a super compelling collection of essays, all engaging with the immigrant experience and what that has meant and looked like for each of the writers. Stand outs for include the contributions by Alexander Chee and Fatima Farheen Mirza. Great companion read to books like Tell Me How It Ends by Valeria Luiselli, Everyone Knows You Go Home by Natalia Sylvester, and American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins.
Never Without a Book
In the time of Donald Trump’s xenophobia and immigration-related policies, 26 Immigrant writers, artists and scholars come together in one amazing collection of essays to give us a snapshot in time of what life is like for someone who is not white and from the America. Well-known contributors that I was excited to read more on are Khakpour, Alexander Chee, Daniel José Elder, Teju Cole, and Nicole Dennis-Benn. All these stories being told are all worth learning from. I highly recommend this colle ...more
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: immigration, essays
Almost every essay in this collection worked for me on a craft and content level. There are so many stories here, and so many ways of telling them. And so many amazing writers! I came for Alexander Chee, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Jenny Zhang, Rahawa Haile, Porochista Khakpour, and Maeve Higgins. I loved all of their essays, and discovered some new favorite writers along the way, especially Tejal Rao, Fatima Farheen Mirza, Susanne Ramírez de Allerano, and Jade Chang. ‘Swimmer,’ ‘Chooey-Booey and Brown, ...more
I read this for the OWLs readathon and I'm glad to have got to it as I loved the original Good Immigrant collection which I read a while ago, and this I picked up instantly when I saw it was out.

This is a book with stories of immigrants' experiences living in the USA as an immigrant or second/third generation immigrant. Their stories are personal, raw and emotional.

I do think this is a collection that would have more impact on a US citizen, because of the references the reader could relate to,
Elizabeth A
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read one of these essays daily, and as with all anthologies, there are some I liked better than others, but there was at least a nugget I took away from each.

Immigrants come here for all kinds of reasons, and immigrants are not just people of color. I read somewhere once that there are biological/evolutionary reasons to fear/hate the other - just look at what happened to most native peoples when others showed up as an example - but we are living in a moment of intense "othering" that should c
If there is a list of "Books Every White American Should Read," this should be on it. There is a lot of nuance that's absent from the mainstream immigration conversation, and an anthology like this highlights that, in these essays on wide-ranging immigrant experiences. It should be common sense that a Mexican immigrant doesn't face the same challenges or treatment as, say, an Indian immigrant, and that comes through very clearly in these writers' stories. I also appreciate many of these essays s ...more
Papatia Feauxzar
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally, an American immigrant book I can relate to.
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this felt even more powerful and poignant than the original british anthology, in part because of its driven politics (i believe the UK anthology was published post-Brexit but pre-Trump), in part because of the diversity of its writers in ethnicity, style, experience and occupation, which made every piece feel even more focused. it's very hard to pick a favourite (or even multiple favourites) because everything pretty much blew me away. it's also serves as a good introduction to authors of color ...more
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This timely collection of essays gives a fresh and much needed perspective of what being a first or second generation immigrant in America entails.

Some shared stories from their childhood, others gave a quick history lesson on the colonization of their country of origin and others spoke of life with Trump in office. All of them were impactful.

I recognized a few of the authors names but I also found a whole handful of new authors, comedians and journalists whose work I want to check out.

One th
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: feminism
Incredibly rich and informative series of essays that also offer you fresh insights to consider and visualize. I learned a lot and loved this collection.

It is a groundbreaking nonfiction series by 26 authors that speak about their perceptions and what it meant for them to have resided in the United States, not to be a native citizen. Each essay by the authors was superb, distressing, and informative. I've learned a lot from this collection and I encourage native American born readers to pick thi
Mary Adeson
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always appreciate anthologies, as they provides the opportunity to read works from writers I’m yet to discover. Most importantly from The Good Immigrant USA I’ve been able to read stories from perspectives/voices I haven’t typically read.

I had high expectations from reading The Good Immigrant (the UK version), however the reason the US version gets a 4 rather than a 5 is because there were probably one or two stories which I just struggled to read. As a result I put the book down and had to s
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two years ago I read #thegoodimmigrant, an incredible collection of essays from the UK that was my favourite book of that year. This book, published in March 2019 is a new collection by the same creators featuring 26 writers (including some v familiar/famous names on the list) reflecting on America.

The collection is not my favourite book of the year but features some truly stunning essays (essays by Fatimah Asghar, Jade Chang, Fatima Farheen Mirza, Porochista Khakpour, Wale Oyejide, Chigozie Obi
Anna Baillie-Karas
Superb collection of essays by writers who are immigrants to USA (or children of). Different backgrounds & diverse styles - from personal to historical & sometimes funny. But some common threads: all bright, creative people with much to offer but have been seen as outsiders. All tackle this ‘othering’ & their parents’ home culture - so question their own identity. A poignant sense of trying to belong. It’s a bracing read. Highly recommended.
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These 26 essays are by mostly young writers. They are often influenced by the experiences they have at school with teachers and of course peers who judge them harshly for being different. These deeply personal stories are by unknown and some known writers: Alexander Chee and Teju Cole. One surprise was by an Irish immigrant who was living in the country illegally. Some excellent writing will encourage readers to find more work by these authors.
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
I was very disappointed in this book. It seemed to be a contest as to who could be more erudite than the next and devoid of the true emotion that one would expect from a collection of works by modern immigrants.
thoughts coming shortly
Carlos HS
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Mostly dry and repetitive ideas mixing relatively few insights, with a lot of whining and lack of depth. Quite typical of the new American grievance culture.
With any collection of this type, your enjoyment of and engagement with the various pieces will naturally vary. But this is one of the best I've read as far as being consistently positive for both of those factors.

I really...maybe enjoyed isn't quite the right word, perhaps I'll say appreciated...nearly every essay in here. Many of them were beautifully written, thought-provoking, bold, and stentorian (if such a word can apply to something written down, which...sure, why not, it's 2020, rules d
Carol Douglas
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book, immigrant writers tell about their experiences with the United States. All of the essays seem to have been written since Trump was elected. As the title indicates, these are "model" immigrants, intellectuals (and a punk band member). Some of them are the children of immigrants rather than immigrants themselves. The writers and their families come mostly from Africa and Asia. One immigrant from Ireland tells how different her experience was because she was white.

There are stories a
Jul 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a really varied and diverse collection of essays on what it is to be an immigrant in the United States. There is such a variety of experiences and backgrounds, which is essential to understanding what immigration actually is, and not pigeonholing immigrants as a certain type of person. I really valued reading about each author's experiences, and it was interesting to come across some through-lines, like the influence of the Black Panther movie.

There were many authors included whose work
Megan (carry_abook) Abbott
If you want to better understand immigration- this book is for you. If you have never had hard discussions with immigrants on their realities- this book is also for you. Bottom line- read this book. It is a beautiful collection of essays to learn from.
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, politics
This book is a great combination of essays from different writers regarding their personal experiences in the United States. Not every essay resonated with me, but that added to overall beauty of this book; there’s bound to be an essay or two that has a sense of familiarity for someone. I loved many of the essays throughout and really enjoyed reading this.
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Good Immigrant USA, edited by Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman, is the American follow-up to Shukla's previous edited collection, The Good Immigrant, which focused on Britain. Both collections feature a range of essays from immigrants to these countries talking about their own experiences and challenging stereotypes, but for me at least, the two books have a very different feel. The Good Immigrant was more personal and more anecdotal, and it was definitely funnier; while there were, of cou ...more
Kamila Kunda
Nov 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, own, usa
I loved the UK essays in “The Good Immigrant” so much that when the US version was published I immediately bought it and read it. Twenty six essays by authors of various origin - Iranian, Chinese, Indian, Nigerian, Korean, to name some - portray the United States in grim colours as a country divided and unequal like none other. The book was written shortly after Trump was elected and authors’ fear about the future is palpable.

The US was built on exploitation of others for the benefit of the few,
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For anthologies and collections of short stories, I usually name the few that struck me as poignant or somehow special.  I found it especially difficult to pick some to list here because almost all 26 pieces were notable (The Irish immigrant had a strangely pedantic tone at times. And there is one by an author I've DNF'd before and her piece here had me roll my eyes to the very back of my head).  The stories depicted difficult and painful situations, long-lasting ones that scarred or marked the ...more
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A mixed bag but I loved the diversity of voices and experiences. Standout essays from Teju Cole, Priya Minhas, Alexander Chee, Adrian and Sebastian Villar Rojas, and Susanne Ramirez de Arellano.
Joshunda Sanders
Such an important and timely collection, which displays in shimmering beauty and anger, joy and love all the paradoxes that come with one’s status as an American.
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“Fitting in, it turns out, is a very physical process. I have spent years in a battle with my body, trying to make it compliant to the needs of others. I have tried to shrink it as though that could shrink my difference. Am I more welcome if I take up less space?” 4 likes
“Where are you from?” usually bothers me, but tonight I note his brown skin, and I know it’s not the same thing as a white American asking me the same question. I note his Muslim name. His question is not an attack but an invitation, a cup of tea, from someone who also feels lonely in this country and is looking for a bit of home.” 3 likes
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