Book Review | An American Family

book review

Like many people, I became more than a little invested in the story of Khizr and Ghazala Khan and their family during the 2016 election. And it was a brilliant coincidence that I discovered this book – due out tomorrow, October 24 – the same day I read the chapter about the Khans in Hillary Clinton’s book, What Happened. I immediately picked it up and could not put it down.

(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)

Synopsis

36153779(From Goodreads) This inspiring memoir by the Gold Star parent and captivating DNC speaker is the story of one family’s pursuit of the American dream and why–especially in these tumultuous times–we must not be afraid to step forward for what we believe in when it matters most.

An American Family is an intensely personal story about the nature of true patriotism and what it’s like to risk everything you know for the promise of a 226-year-old piece of parchment. As Khizr Khan traces his remarkable journey–from humble beginnings on a poultry farm in Pakistan to obtaining a degree from Harvard Law School and raising a family in America–he shows what it means to leave the limitations of one’s country behind for the best values and promises of another. He also tells the story of the Khans’ middle child, U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed while protecting his base camp in Iraq, and the ways in which their undying pride in him and his sacrifice have helped them endure the deepest despair a parent can know.

The book is a stark depiction of what an American looks like, what being a nation of immigrants really means, and what it is to live–rather than simply to pay lip service to–our ideals.

Review

I’ve read quite a few memoirs this year, but An American Family might just be my favorite. It is incredibly inspiring and I loved reading it so much. It really made me feel like anything is possible, and motivated me to work harder in my own life. I almost always enjoy immigrant stories, and this was no exception.

Khizr Khan’s story (and that of his family) is, in many ways, a typical immigrant story. But Khizr Kahn is definitely not the average immigrant. He works incredibly hard, not only for his family, but for himself. And I think that’s what most inspired me. Khan sacrificed so much in search of his dreams, something I don’t think people do all that often anymore. I just adore his story. I felt like I got to know him, and his words have so much more meaning to me.

Not only is the story incredible, the writing is, too. Khan is an immensely talented writer, and that is easily one of the reasons I loved his memoir so much. Everything felt incredibly real; I didn’t have any trouble imagining anything, and the details pulled me deeper and deeper into the story. One thing I’ve noticed that can be a challenge for memoirists is how much to include, but Khan strikes the perfect balance between detail and story. Nothing seems to long, but I also didn’t think anything really needed to be elaborated on. It is funny, intelligent, and poignant.

Rating

★★★★★ – I think it’s pretty clear that I adore this book. An American Family is an absolutely brilliant and inspiring memoir that I think should be on everyone’s reading list this fall. Not only did it motivate me to work harder for my own dreams, it really made me aware of how I was taking advantage of the freedom of being an American, and how hard others have to strive for those same privileges.

An American Family will be available in stores everywhere tomorrow, October 24. You can get your copy on Amazon now.

This book was provided to me by the publisher and NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may get a small commission for purchases made through this post.*

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