THE TRUE AMERICAN
by Anand Giridharadas
Published in 2014 by W.W. Norton & Company.
Reviewed by Helen Ginger.
The True American by Anand Giridharadas is one of those books that you want to keep reading into the wee hours of the morning.
Raisuddin, 27, comes from Bangladesh to America, or more specifically, to Texas, in 2001. He finds a job working at a mini-mart in Dallas. He loves America but at the same time, everything is so different from Bangladesh. Even so, he is determined to work hard and become an American. He had trained to command fighter jets. He was qualified as a Microsoft Certified Engineer. But his days are spent at the mini-mart, beginning at 5 a.m., selling soft drinks, candy and cigarettes. He hopes someday to work at a different job.
A few days before 9/11, a man walks into the mini-mart. He is not there for cigarettes or candy. Stroman is there to kill. He shoots Raisuddin in the head, and two others.
Only Raisuddin survives.
Raisuddin’s life is forever changed. He can give up, go back to Bangladesh, or forgive Stroman. Or he can help others.
The True American is one of those books you can’t put down. As much as this story is about Raisuddin, it is also about Stroman. It is, when you come right down to it, about you and me (the reader) and how s/he feels about Islam, about immigrants, about what it is and what it means to be an American.
Helen Ginger writes both nonfiction and fiction. She has authored three books in TSTC Publishing’s TechCareer series. Her first novel, a USA Best Book Award winner, Angel Sometimes, is available on Kindle and in print. Helen’s next book, Dismembering the Past, a suspense, was released this month. Helen has served as a Board member and Executive Director of the Writers’ League of Texas and currently works as a Volunteer Chair for the Texas Book Festival. She is the Coordinator of Story Circle Network’s Editorial Services and an Owner/Partner of Legends In Our Own Minds®. What she gets asked about most often are her three years swimming as a mermaid at Aquarena Springs.