The inaugural post for a historic inaugural year!
While finding out so much more about our first African American president, you can also discover his Asian Pacific American cultural heritage, as well. He was born in Hawai‘i, his father-figure ages 4-6 was an Indonesian man, Lolo Soetero, who would eventually become his stepfather, he lived in Indonesia fitting right in with the locals during formative years 6-10, has a hapa Indonesian American sister, Maya Soetero-Ng, who is herself married to a Chinese Canadian, learned Indonesian in six months, and returned to Hawai‘i to finish his pre-college education at Punahou School. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
Of course, the book has so many memorable characters and stories to offer. The preface to the latest re-issued edition is a heart-breaking homage to his late mother. The memories of his maternal grandmother are especially wrenching with the realization that she passed away just before she could witness her beloved grandson’s victory as the 44th U.S. President. And his experiences in Kenya with his absent, late father’s side of the family are both comedy and tragedy combined.
Tidbits: The audible version of the book, which Obama himself reads, is quite the experience – that voice makes you believe he’s personally telling you his stories. The final track is a bonus: his 2004 Democratic Convention keynote address as the good Senator from Illinois, thumping for John Kerry and John Edwards. But if you take out those names, that speech still remains eerily now – war, economic woes, still too much inequity. Now that he’s the one who’s moved into 1600 Pennsylvania … ’Yes, we can,’ and ‘Yes, we will!’
Readers: Young Adult, Adult
Published: 1995, 2004 (re-issued with new preface)