Title: When Skateboards Will Be Free: A Memoir of a Political Childhood
Author: Said Sayrafiezadeh
Summary: In his debut memoir, Sayrafiezadeh describes his childhood in the Socialist Workers Party. Even after her husband leaves her to foment revolution in his native Iran, Said’s mom, Martha, remains steadfast to him, and to the Party. Self-inflicted poverty is not only a constant, it is perceived as a guiding value - a way to identify with the struggle of the workers and a thumb to the eye of the bosses and their materialistic society. Martha tells young Said that he can have a skateboard after the revolution in an episode that supplies the title of the book.
While young Said hurtles through adulthood, attending SWP conferences, fearing for his father’s life in Iran, and taking a trip to Cuba to see the socialist dream in action, his mother’s psyche slowly unravels. This bracingly funny and shocking memoir is a revelation; a unique look into the world of people still waiting for the revolution to come from a powerful and promising new writer.
Who will like this book?: People who enjoy memoirs, particularly by people with interesting (and damaged) childhoods. Readers looking for insight into outsider and fringe politics.
If you like this, try this: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. For more on the politics, try Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism by Joshua Muravchik.
Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian
Title: The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
Author: Bill Bryson
Summary: This book is ideal for any baby boomer who remembers their childhood fondly. No heart-wrenching drama here. The reader needs to have a good sense of humor and delight in the seriously silly adventures of children. I have not laughed out loud this much while reading a book in a long time. Don’t you remember how seriously you took the “play” time you relished as a child? Don’t you want to feel so astonished by adult behavior again? Don’t you want to jump right into some great nostalgic read where all is fun, good and safe?
Bill Bryson, accomplished author of the favorite A Walk in the Woods(among others), shares his childhood and family life of the 1950′s and 1960′s growing up in Des Moines, Illinois. He even likes his parents and appreciates their quirks! His storytelling is hilarious and warm. He laments about the wonderful things about this era in American history and what we may have lost. His impressive writing talent allows the reader to a take a nostalgic trip down memory lane in a feel-good and informative way.
I listened to the audio with someone who is not a baby boomer but sadly, was born, a tad too early, and he laughed out loud with me. The stories about childhood and the American way of life are universal. Please pick up a copy of the audio book while going on a long trip this summer and laugh with your family and friends.
Recommended by: Karen, Deputy Town Librarian