When Skateboards Will Be Free by Said Sayrafiezadeh
A Memoir of a Political Childhood

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Synopsis

BONUS: This edition contains a When Skateboards Will Be Free discussion guide.

“The revolution is not only inevitable, it is imminent. It is not only imminent, it is quite imminent. And when the time comes, my father will lead it.”

With a profound gift for capturing the absurd in life, and a deadpan wisdom that comes from surviving a surreal childhood in the Socialist Workers Party, Saïd Sayrafiezadeh has crafted an unsentimental, funny, heartbreaking memoir.

Saïd’s Iranian-born father and American Jewish mother had one thing in common: their unshakable conviction that the workers’ revolution was coming. Separated since their son was nine months old, they each pursued a dream of the perfect socialist society. Pinballing with his mother between makeshift Pittsburgh apartments, falling asleep at party meetings, longing for the luxuries he’s taught to despise, Said waits for the revolution that never, ever arrives. “Soon,” his mother assures him, while his long-absent father quixotically runs as a socialist candidate for president in an Iran about to fall under the ayatollahs. Then comes the hostage crisis. The uproar that follows is the first time Saïd hears the word “Iran” in school. There he is suddenly forced to confront the combustible stew of his identity: as an American, an Iranian, a Jew, a socialist... and a middle-school kid who loves football and video games.

Poised perfectly between tragedy and farce, here is a story by a brilliant young writer struggling to break away from the powerful mythologies of his upbringing and create a life—and a voice—of his own. Saïd Sayrafiezadeh’ s memoir is unforgettable.
 

About Said Sayrafiezadeh

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SAÏD SAYRAFIEZADEH is the author of a memoir, When Skateboards Will Be Free. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Granta, McSweeney's, The New York Times Magazine and The Best American Nonrequired Reading, among other publications. He lives in New York City and teaches at New York University.






Author Residence: New York City






Author Hometown: New York/ Pittsburgh
 
Published March 14, 2009 by The Dial Press. 306 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for When Skateboards Will Be Free

Kirkus Reviews

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The poignant, brilliantly told story of a unique and troubled childhood.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of When Skateboards Will Be Free...

The New York Times

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Saïd Sayrafiezadeh’s memoir recounts growing up in a family of ardent members of the Socialist Workers Party, convinced that revolution was just around the corner.

Apr 01 2009 | Read Full Review of When Skateboards Will Be Free...

AV Club

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Personal meets political in a memoir about growing up in America in a subculture of "Marxist fervor."

Apr 30 2009 | Read Full Review of When Skateboards Will Be Free...

AV Club

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Personal meets political in a memoir about growing up in America in a subculture of "Marxist fervor."

Apr 30 2009 | Read Full Review of When Skateboards Will Be Free...

San Francisco Chronicle

Saïd exists in a realm of forced intimacy - cramped apartments, few friends outside the party - with his mother.

Mar 31 2009 | Read Full Review of When Skateboards Will Be Free...

Book Forum

In another fitting set piece, the grown-up Sayrafiezadeh meets his father in more or less the place that started it all: poised over a copy of The Militant, now a sidewalk Socialist himself, selling the revolutionary pamphlet that changed two lives more than thirty years before.

Aug 28 2015 | Read Full Review of When Skateboards Will Be Free...

truthdig

You may not be an Internet billionaire, but for $25 (or .00001 percent of what Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos just paid for the Washington Post), you can help keep us in business.

Mar 22 2013 | Read Full Review of When Skateboards Will Be Free...

truthdig

This does not excuse their actions, but it does not place them in the same sphere of criminality as Saddam Hussein.

Oct 11 2008 | Read Full Review of When Skateboards Will Be Free...

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