Naturalized: A Memoir and An Exposé by Racheal Selma

Naturalized: A Memoir and An Exposé by Racheal Selma
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Non-Fiction, Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Naturalized: An Immigrant’s Story takes readers along Racheal Selma’s path from arriving in Mesa, Arizona in 2008 to authoring a book. From marriage to Mugshot of the Day Recipient to homeless to All-State Academic Scholar, Naturalized: An Immigrant’s Story is a bizarre, yet fascinating read.

Racheal Selma migrated to Mesa, Arizona on February 3, 2008, from Trinidad, an island in the Caribbean. On July 4, 2018, Racheal received the right of citizenship through the naturalization process.

Naturalized: An Immigrant’s Story includes Racheal Selma’s views on religion, government, racism, bearing arms, voting, and much more. The book includes an account of Racheal Selma’s 2012 arrest and the night spent naked in a Maricopa County Jail in Phoenix.

Racheal adds intrigue to drama, claiming a former president of these United States is one of the two witnesses written of in the Book of Revelation.
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Racheal Selma wrote Naturalized: An Immigrant’s Story to open eyes, hearts, and minds, increase awareness, understanding, and enlightenment, and reduce fear, depression, and sickness.

Knowing the truth makes you free…

It takes courage to move to another part of the world and start a new life.

My favorite passages were the ones that explained the cultural and geographic differences between Trinidad and the United States. For example, the author had a bit of a shock when she first flew into Atlanta due to the cold weather. She was so used to the tropical climate of her home country that it never occurred to her to pack warm clothing and a coat for when she arrived in the United States. I smiled at her descriptions of trying to stay warm in the Hartsford-Jackson Atlanta International Airport until a kind stewardess noticed and gave her a blanket. It’s easy to assume that one’s experiences are universal, especially for people who have spent so much of their lives in one place. There’s something special about gently peeling back these assumptions and discovering the truth. This is something the author did well!

Ms. Selma spent a lot of time jumping around from one idea to the next without explaining how they were connected. She’d share vivid memories of her emigration from Trinidad to the United States in one paragraph only to switch topics and discuss her thoughts on the Apollo 11 mission, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the true identity of Barack Obama, or how she thinks one should avoid becoming infected with Covid-19 in the next paragraph. It was confusing for me as a reader to follow her train of thought, especially since many of these topics were so far removed from each other as well as from her experiences as an immigrant.

I enjoyed the author’s descriptions of how she became an American citizen after being a permanent resident of that country for several years. Many countries have lengthy processes that applicants must go through and reams of paperwork they must fill out in order to become a citizen. Her descriptions of how this process worked were as interesting as they were a confirmation that government bureaucracy knows no bounds. Anyplace that has a government is almost certain to have countless forms to fill out and hoops to jump through as well. It was lovely, and sometimes also a little amusing, to see just how similar we all are in this respect no matter who we are or where we live in the world.

Naturalized: A Memoir and An Exposé was a thought-provoking read I’d recommend to anyone who is curious about the immigration and naturalization process in the United States.

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