Book Review: A Beginner's Guide to America: For the Immigrant and the Curious



A Beginner's Guide to America: For the Immigrant and the Curious
by Roya Hakakian

I really wanted to like A Beginner's Guide to America. The idea is certainly a winner - a book about the experience of a recent immigrant to America, written by a recent immigrant in the form of a guidebook.

Unfortunately, I just didn't connect with this book.

Perhaps it was because it was told in the 2nd person. "You" came to America with this or that expectation, after "you" suffered this or that experience in your homeland. In small quantities 2nd person works, but when an author writes a whole book that way there is a risk that your readers may not connect with your "you".

Maybe it's the way the author put the material together. Hakakian took her own immigrant experience, and blended it in with the experiences of other recent immigrants she interviewed into a single thread. The problem is not all the experiences blend together and without any attachment to real people it was harder to connect.

Don't get me wrong - there were parts of the book I did connect with. But overall I can't really recommend this one. Two stars ⭐⭐. 

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