America Ferrera enlists stars for multicultural essay collection, ‘American Like Me’


America Ferrera’s latest project is no movie or TV series, but a star-studded essay collection.

“American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures” (Gallery, 309 pp., ★★★ out of four) is filled with dozens of first-person stories by writers, actors and athletes. Contributors include Lin-Manuel Miranda, Issa Rae, Roxane Gay, Auli’i Cravalho, Padma Lakshmi, Kumail Nanjiani, Michelle Kwan, Jeremy Lin and Ferrera herself.

In the introduction, Ferrera, star of NBC’s “Superstore,” writes about her first name and how she used to resent the “one smart-ass in class” who would turn to face her when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance – “…you know, ‘cause my name is America,” she writes. Ferrera tracks her adolescence through heartrending vignettes, moments when her own definition of America clashed with that of her peers.

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