The Shahanis came to Queensfrom India, by way of Casablancain the 1980s. They were undocumented for a few unsteady years and then, with the arrival of their green cards, they thought they'd made it. This is the story of how they did, and didn't; the unforeseen obstacles that propelled them into years of disillusionment and heartbreak; and the strength of a family determined to stay together.
Here We Are: American Dreams, American Nightmares follows the lives of Aarti, the precocious scholarship kid at one of Manhattan's most elite prep schools, and her dad, the shopkeeper who mistakenly sells watches and calculators to the notorious Cali drug cartel. Together, the two represent the extremes that coexist in our country, even within a single family, and a truth about immigrants that gets lost in the headlines. It isn’t a matter of good or evil; it's complicated.
Ultimately, Here We Are is a coming-of-age story, a love letter from an outspoken modern daughter to her soft-spoken Old World father. She never expected they'd become best friends.
|Product dimensions:||6.70(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
Act 1 Backstay 9
Act 2 We Made It 51
Act 3 Breaking at the Seams 79
Intermission: Reporting the Case 115
Act 4 Stranger Things 131
Act 5 Stretch Goal 177
Act 6 Leaving and Finding Home 209
Epilogue: Dear Dad 239
Reading Group Guide
Why did Aarti's parents decide to come to America even though they didn't have papers? Do you think they made the right decision?
How do you think A Better Chance Inc. and Brearley changed Aarti’s perspectives and the course of her life?
What were the effects of the September 11, 2001 attacks on Aarti’s advocacy efforts in New York and Washington, DC?
Aarti describes the gentrification of the area on Broadway where her father and uncle had their store. Have you seen anything similar happening in areas near you?
How do you feel about Judge Blumenfeld’s criticism to Aarti: “You’re not living a life about what you were really born to do”?
How did Aarti’s relationship with her father evolve over the course of their story? In what ways did the tragedy he experienced actually increase their understanding of one another?
Why do you think Aarti became a journalist? How does her work as a journalist inform the way she shared her family’s story?
Aarti comes to question if the U.S. is her home, and her father's home. What would you say makes your country your home?