• This Is What America Looks Like

  • My Journey from Refugee to Congresswoman
  • By: Ilhan Omar
  • Narrated by: Ilhan Omar
  • Length: 7 hrs and 7 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (316 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Ilhan has been an inspiring figure well before her time in Congress. This book will give you insight into the person and sister that I see - passionate, caring, witty, and above all committed to positive change. It's an honor to serve alongside her in the fight for a more just world." (Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)

An intimate and rousing memoir by progressive trailblazer Ilhan Omar - the first African refugee, the first Somali American, and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress.

lhan Omar was only eight years old when war broke out in Somalia. The youngest of seven children, her mother had died while Ilhan was still a little girl. She was being raised by her father and grandfather when armed gunmen attacked their compound and the family decided to flee Mogadishu. They ended up in a refugee camp in Kenya, where Ilhan says she came to understand the deep meaning of hunger and death. Four years later, after a painstaking vetting process, her family achieved refugee status and arrived in Arlington, Virginia.

Aged 12, penniless, speaking only Somali, and having missed out on years of schooling, Ilhan rolled up her sleeves, determined to find her American dream. Faced with the many challenges of being an immigrant and a refugee, she questioned stereotypes and built bridges with her classmates and in her community. In less than two decades, she became a grassroots organizer, graduated from college, and was elected to congress with a record-breaking turnout by the people of Minnesota - ready to keep pushing boundaries and restore moral clarity in Washington, DC.

A beacon of positivity in dark times, Congresswoman Omar has weathered many political storms and yet maintained her signature grace, wit, and love of country - all the while speaking up for her beliefs. Similarly, in chronicling her remarkable personal journey, Ilhan is both lyrical and unsentimental, and her irrepressible spirit, patriotism, friendship, and faith are audible in every minute. As a result, This Is What America Looks Like is both the inspiring coming of age story of a refugee and a multidimensional tale of the hopes and aspirations, disappointments and failures, successes, sacrifices, and surprises of a devoted public servant with unshakable faith in the promise of America.  

©2020 Ilhan Omar (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about This Is What America Looks Like

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American

Eye opening. Ms Omar doesn't candy coat her faults and doesn't gloat on her attributes. Although I'm a Minnesotan, I'm not in the district that can vote for, nevertheless, I follow her. She is truly remarkable and even though I don't agree with some of her positions, I'm still very impressed.

8 people found this helpful

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Educational and Inspirational

This was a fascinating book about Ilhan Omar’s life from war torn Somalia to refugee camps in Kenya to the US and her ultimate election to Congress. I learned so much about her refugee experience and her struggles. The narration started a bit choppy, but quickly improved. Whether you agree or disagree with her politics, the story is inspiring.

3 people found this helpful

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Must Listen!!!

Exactly what a memoir ought to be, personal. Hear her story in her own words. Not manipulated or bias. Her strength and vulnerability are in full display as she takes you from childhood school yard fights, through a war zone, and into the heart of Minneapolis politics. She is for the people because she is the people. The audiobook provides an even more personal layer to this deeply authentic memoir. Ignore the trolls. Cannot recommend enough.

3 people found this helpful

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Impersonal

I didn't know a lot about Ilhan Omar except that she is an easy target from conservative groups. I was hoping to learn more about her, and I did... kind of. However, as she told her story of her childhood I felt like she was very removed from it. There was something missing... it all clicked toward the end of her book when she made a statement (paraphrased) that she does not talk about her personal life and instead focuses on her work. That made sense to me and that is how I would describe this book. It wasn't very personal. It was matter of fact. It was missing heart and that made it fall flat for me.

2 people found this helpful

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Enlightening

Well-written and engaging, I reflected as I read about what this young Congresswoman has gone through in her life's journey. Before reading the book, I only saw Rep. Omar as a strident, progressive politician (could say the same of myself) but the book brought out her humanity. Her rationale for and commitment to her religious beliefs and wearing her hajib were thoughtful and enlightening. The book was not overly heavy in addressing Omar's politics but again, the explanations on how she came to her convictions and advocacy resonated with me. I originally started listening to the audiobook but did not care for the rather flat narration.

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Enlightening

Thank you for sharing your amazing journey to the United States; which hearing you tell it - sounds larger than life. I think your story is a perfect example of freedom. Rock On!

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first half... five stars! 2nd half... boring!

I found myself glued to Rep Omar's personal story of bridging her refugee... to American citizen town hall experience beautiful. then I started chapter 10 on politics and it soon became... time to take a nap lol

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Interesting insight into a Squad member😁

Ilhan Omar’s memoir is fascinating however her somewhat stilted reading was a challenge for this listener. Nevertheless her experiences and insights of immigration is important knowledge for all Americans. It was heartwarming and heartbreaking to learn how she had become so resilient in the face of childhood and adulthood bullies; how she fought sexism within her Somali community and anti-Muslim hatred in American society. She has been forged in these fires and emerged as a warrior for justice, inclusion and American values supporting all Americans. I hope she continues to fight, work, and provide resources for her constituents and inspires all Americans making good trouble in the good fight for equity and equality.

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Inspiring story

The most inspiring story I've read in a very long time, strongly recommend for anyone looking to be reminded of all the ways the American Dream is still alive.

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Inspirational!😍

Listening to her share her story was like hearing her testimony in her own words! Her life experiences prepared her for what she's doing today!🥰