"[A] rare voice that is both relatable and unafraid to examine the complexities of her American identity.â€ť â€”Reza Aslan, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
An Immigrant Love-Hate Story of What it Means to Be American
You know that feeling of being at the wrong end of the table? Like youâ€™re at a party but all the good stuff is happening out of earshot (#FOMO)? Thatâ€™s lifeâ€”especially for an immigrant.
What happens when a shy, awkward Arab girl with a weird name and an unfortunate propensity toward facial hair is uprooted from her comfortable (albeit fascist-regimed) homeland of Iraq and thrust into the cold, alien town of Columbus, Ohioâ€”with its Egg McMuffins, Barbie dolls, and kids playing doctor everywhere you turned?
This is Ayser Salmanâ€™s story. First comes Emigration, then Naturalization, and finally Assimilationâ€”trying to fit in among her blonde-haired, blue-eyed counterparts, and always feeling left out. On her journey to Americanhood, Ayser sees more naked butts at pre-kindergarten daycare that she would like, breaks one of her parentsâ€™ rules (â€śThou shalt not participate as an actor in the school musical where a male cast member rests his head in thy lapâ€ť), and other things good Muslim Arab girls are not supposed to do. And, after the 9/11 attacks, she experiences the isolation of being a Muslim in her own country. It takes hours of therapy, fifty-five rounds of electrolysis, and some ill-advised romantic dalliances for Ayser to grow into a modern Arab American woman who embraces her cultural differences.
Part memoir and part how-not-to guide, The Wrong End of the Table is everything you wanted to know about Arabs but were afraid to ask, with chapters such as â€śTattoos and Other National Security Risks,â€ť â€śYou Canâ€™t Blame Everything on Your Period; Sometimes Youâ€™re Going to Be a Crazy Bitch: and Other Advice from Mom,â€ť and even an open letter to Trump. This is the story of every American outsider on a path to find themselves in a country of beautiful diversity.