"If a writer pitched Rep. Ilhan Omar’s life story to a Hollywood producer as a movie, it would likely be rejected as simply too impossible to believe," Dean Obeidallah wrote recently at Salon .
Impossible to believe? Certain aspects of it, sure. Rejected? By Hollywood? Not a chance. Indeed, part of Omar’s story was already the subject of an award-winning documentary. Now her full story, in her own words, is available in the form of a memoir for $19.59 on Amazon. Believe it or not, it’s a bestseller.
Whereas others, such as Barack Obama, were forced to rely on composite characters, ornate verbosity, and tortured introspection, Omar has the benefit of better source material—the kind that Hollywood producers, Democratic consultants, and journalists can’t resist. As a one-term state legislator, for example, she was interviewed by Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and appeared on the cover of Time and in a music video with Maroon 5. Your state legislators probably haven’t. Not that you’d even recognize them.
This Is What America Looks Like: My Journey from Refugee to Congresswoman lives up to its title. We live in a country of celebrity state legislators , increasingly obsessed with identity in all its forms, increasingly outraged, prone to violent outbursts, and increasingly likely to view the "legal and social construct" of marriage as "bizarre," in Omar’s own words. She had a "Britney Spears-style meltdown." She explains her emotions of being a Muslim after 9/11 by quoting a Netflix "comedy" special. That’s what America looks like in 2020.
Omar’s memoir is without question one of the most compelling memoirs ever authored by an ambitious politician’s ghostwriter. Granted, it’s not a competitive category. Omar’s early life in particular—fleeing her gated compound in war-ravaged Somalia as a child refugee then finding success and nervous breakdown in America—is undoubtedly dramatic […]