96 pages • 3 hours readSara Saedi
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Sara Saedi, the author of Americanized, introduces her memoir by describing a scene from 1993. She is at home in San Jose, California with her older sister, Samira, and younger brother, Kia. At the time, Sara is nearly 13 years old and preoccupied by concerns about her facial acne, undeveloped breasts, and the possibility that she and her best friend like the same boy. While writing job applications, Samira complains she will never find employment at the local mall. Sara responds that Samira should not worry since she has experience working in retail at their parents’ luggage store. Samira dismisses Sara’s comment by saying she does not have a social security number and neither does her sister. Sara does not understand, and Samira clarifies, “The government doesn't know we exist. We could get deported any time” (3).
Sara asks if they will be sent back to Iran, a country they have not lived in for 10 years. Samira explains to Sara they are undocumented immigrants and therefore breaking the law by living in the United States. Kia is the only one in their family who the government cannot deport because he was born in the United States, which makes him an American citizen.