4 out of 4 stars
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In Beyond the Golden Door: Seeing the American Dream through an Immigrant's Eyes, Ali Master shares his journey as a Pakistani Muslim who immigrates to the United States to attend college and finds love, faith, and freedom. Master stresses the book is not intended to be an academic solution to the complex issues dividing our nation. Instead, he offers his perspective of the American Dream after living in the United States for thirty-two years and an additional nineteen in three other nations. Master describes the purpose of his book: "...to communicate that being an American is not about ethnicity, religion, or the color of your skin. Rather, it's a state of mind. It's our shared values and freedoms that make us uniquely American." Master emphasizes that not all people from Muslim countries hate the United States as he shares his hope that his story will motivate readers to share these same values with new immigrants.
This well-written book traverses themes of "...love, family, faith, failure, and redemption" and is divided into four parts. In the first, Master chronicles growing up in a devout Shia Muslim home. He explains the customs, politics, and culture in Pakistan. He lovingly describes his family and also openly shares traumatic circumstances that shape his life. The second part includes humorous stories involving stereotypes that immigrants have about life in America and the stark reality of culture shock. In the third, Master addresses five American freedoms he values. In the fourth part, he poses contemplative questions for consideration.
I particularly like Master's distinctive style of storytelling. Whether he is explaining the Pakistani process of matchmaking and arranged marriages or passionately sharing his spiritual journey and the freedom he has found in Christ, Master's writing is consistently engaging.
On a humorous note, his entertaining description of his preconceived notions of Americans, including Texans as wealthy oil well owners wearing cowboy boots and hats, who have "promiscuous wives with big hair." As a lifelong Texan, I can vouch that immigrants are not the only ones with this stereotypical view, thanks to the popular television series, Dallas. Master's portrayal of himself as a teenager listening to Michael Jackson's Thriller and learning to moonwalk with his friends is also amusing.
There isn't anything I dislike about this inspirational story. Master's powerful portrayal of America's golden door "welcoming those whom the world rejects" will appeal to a wide range of readers. I recommend it to Muslims and Christians as well as immigrants from other countries. Additionally, the book is professionally edited and contains only borderline profanity. There are references to sexual abuse, but there aren't any explicit details. I'm pleased to rate the book 4 out of 4 stars.
Beyond the Golden Door
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