When Skateboards Will be Free
When Skateboards Will Be Free
By Said Sayrafiezadeh
304 pages; Dial

When a 4-year-old boy defies his political activist mother and gobbles down boycotted grapes, it's a comic rebellion—one of many in Saïd Sayrafiezadeh's wry, lovely memoir, When Skateboards Will Be Free. From Brooklyn to Pittsburgh, Saïd snoozes through Socialist Workers Party meetings when all he really wants to do is hang out with the bigoted neighborhood kids who shun him. His American Jewish mother, a die-hard socialist, makes sure the two of them live in idealistic squalor, while his Iranian-born father, who has abandoned them, pursues his revolutionary dreams. "It was up to each of us to bear our private miseries alone," the author says, "until that glorious day in the future when...a perfect world would emerge." He's not holding his breath.


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