An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice
Not so long ago, America watched as a Gold Star family member, Khazir Khan, addressed Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention. He pulled out his pocket Constitution and offered it to Trump, creating a wave of applause from the DNC audience. Khan wrote a memoir, called An American Family, about what being an American means to him and described his journey to becoming an American citizen.
This is not a “one-sided” political memoir. In fact, I would not even call this a political memoir at all. Khan pours his heart into telling the reader his story. From growing up in Pakistan, sleeping on park benches in order to bring his family to America, and becoming an American citizen. I could not put his story down and here’s why:
1. His writing is truly beautiful. Even though this is a memoir, he uses such beautiful metaphors and phrasing. You know when you read a sentence that is just written so perfectly, you have to take a picture of it to send to your best friend, or highlight it, or whatever? I was doing that non-stop in An American Family!
2. Also, An American Family is eye-opening. Khazir made me feel like an American all over again. He brought new-found light to something I take for granted. His analysis of the Declaration of Independence made what used to be a boring history lesson into an overpowering feeling of Freedom. Americans often forget that not everyone has the same freedom. Since Khazir was born and raised in Pakistan, he emphasized his experiences of living without simple freedoms such as gathering with four or more people, freedom of the press, or voicing a negative opinion about the current political state.
3. Additionally, Khan’s determination is inspiring. He is living proof that hard work does pay off. When he wanted to bring his family to America, he slept on park benches to save money. He worked two full-time jobs to scrape by. Despite being a Harvard-educated lawyer, no job was too small. His main priority was to provide a comfortable life for his wife and children—even if that meant sacrificing his temporary happiness and pride.
4. Lastly, Khan gives an endless amount of uplifting stories. Raising his children to become responsible and respectful American citizens was the work of clearly two wise and loving parents. Khazir’s wife, Ghazala, chose to raise her children over becoming a college professor because she believed that was her most important job. How could you not come away from this memoir and not be encouraged to be a better human and citizen?
An American Family is currently set to be published October 2017! Thank you to Penguin Random House Company for a great ARC. Pre-order this gem using the link below! It was fascinating and heart-wrenching.