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The Good Immigrant USA

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  413 ratings  ·  72 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
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 7th 2019 by Dialogue Books (first published February 19th 2019)
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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…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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4.32  · 
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 ·  413 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 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
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays, immigration
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
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
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Papatia Feauxzar
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Finally, an American immigrant book I can relate to.
thoughts coming shortly
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.
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A collection of 26 non-fiction essays by 1st generation or 2nd generation American writers written in the post-Trump era. It has 26 unique voices and writing styles telling a variation of deeply personal stories to family stories to cultural stories. But the underlying theme in all the essays involve the fear and anger and embarrassment about being an "other" in a country that is currently telling all immigrants "we don't want you".

It's fitting that I'm writing this review in the week that the
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
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
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of these essays were spectacular. My favorites were "How Not to Be", "Chooey Booey and Brown", and "Return to Macondo". But most of all, what this collection showed me is that there's space in America for a writer like me. There's room for hope and for every individual voice, as long as those voices are empowered and promoted.
Kathy Heare Watts
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won a copy of this book during a Goodreads giveaway. I am under no obligation to leave a review or rating and do so voluntarily. So that others may also enjoy this book, I am paying it forward by donating it to my local library.
Carlos HS
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.
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could give this book 1000 stars! It was really good. Will be recommending it to everyone forever.
Susan Zacharia
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found myself wanting to put this book away on several occasions because I did not want to believe the harsh realities. But for that reason, I kept reading. Difficult but necessary read.
Tonstant Weader
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Good Immigrant is a collection of twenty-six essays by first and second-generation immigrants about what it is like living and producing their art in a country torn apart by racism and xenophobia. It is a collection of essays by people whose lives are directly affected by Donald Trump’s racism, white nationalism, and hate-inspired policies.

What does it feel like to tour the U.S. in a band when you’re all Muslim? What does it feel like to always be the “other”? That are only the surface quest
I cried a lot reading this collection of essays. Each story is unique, but I related to something, sometimes nearly everything, in nearly all of them. As a first generation immigrant to the US who has previously been an immigrant in other countries, I felt at home reading this book. It’s hard for me to feel at home anywhere, but this book felt like a warm blanket. A warm, comforting blanket that also made me cry, and taught me many new things, about myself, about other countries, and about peopl ...more
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent and timely read--hard to pick favorite essays from this incredible group of writers.
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: march
"This is how the Good Immigrant comes to give himself completely to the Immigrant's Lament-an endless fight on two fronts: here and Home, where here is home now and Home is hope, until it consumes him. Until his heart and all its beating have nowhere left to yearn. Here, in this land, America, where his daughter might, could, and would someday, even if it kills him."

"The sacrifices of our parent, who whithstood endless ridicule in a nation that refused to see them for what they were. And later,
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.
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.
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
In my review of Jose Antonio Vargas' book Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen, I started off the review by letting you know one of my fundamental beliefs--that borders are stupid. To me the concept of drawing a box around something and claiming that someone deserves to be inside the box because of a consequence of birth or some other arbitrary designation is ridiculous. I believe that everyone who lives in our world should have freedom of movement. The idea that we have to build a wal ...more
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
This is a must-read for 2019! This book collects 26 essays by immigrants or the children of immigrants to the US. I meant to read 1-2 essays per day, and I succeeded in rationing them for a while but eventually sat and read the last 13 essays in one sitting. Every single one of these essays is thought-provoking in the best possible way. Here are some of my favorites:

-"Chooey-Booey and Brown" by Tejal Rao: an essay on the cultural history of the food most Westerners know as curry, by a English fo
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

"The title was a response to the narrative that immigrants are 'bad' by default until they prove themselves otherwise. They are job stealers, benefit scroungers, girlfriend thieves, and criminals. Only when they win an Olympic medal, treat you at your local hospital, or rescue a child from the side of a building do the become good." -Editors' Note, p. xi

"...the measure of my success is not the American Dream but my ability to swim out of the current, parallel to shore, and trust that the wave
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
The voices of today's immigrants in America are loud and clear in this collection of powerful essays on the impact of their "outsiderness" - on their grief, on their anger, and on their sense of self in an America that no longer can delude them with its promise of equality and acceptance. The editors chose a wide range of backgrounds and experiences in the published responses; but, in all of them, they mournfully convey that "We are accepted as long as we learn to blend in and bury ourselves wit ...more
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“One of the many online arguments I've had about the importance of language, how language can hurt, has been about tea. Chai tea means tea tea. The number of times you see this on a menu makes you wonder why people can't be bothered to do their research. Like naan bread too. Bread bread.” 0 likes
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