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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
At a time when public discourse is focused on social responsibility, it seems fitting to indulge in a tale of political idealism. Saïd's childhood was molded by a fanatical father and a resigned mother who thought of the party first -- the Socialist Workers Party, that is -- and their son second. Drilled from a young age to believe that creature comforts were to be scorned as capitalist trappings, that the revolution was imminent, and that any crime against society was a "good crime," he spent countless hours at party meetings and on the street hawking copies of the party newsletter.
It was a difficult childhood. Saïd would never be an "average" kid on the playground; he didn't blend in at school. And his father was constantly away on party business, leaving Saïd alone with his depressed mother, his older siblings sent away to become good revolutionaries. In solidarity with their comrades, his mother chose a life of voluntary deprivation. His parents were smart, educated, and loved their children, but they were wholly given over to the cause. Despite their sacrifices, neither the revolution nor a cohesive family unit was realized.
When Skateboards Will Be Free cautions that idealism is no panacea, that it can be as harmful as the societal dangers it rails against. But Saïd is a remarkably resilient young man, hopeful for a brighter future of his own devising. His fascinating journey is an inspiration to us all. (Summer 2009 Selection)