In this debut memoir, the author fondly recounts his experiences as a Yugoslavian immigrant in the United States.
In 1984, Boban Petrovic (the name Blagojevic gives himself in this book) arrived in Los Angeles with his wife, Ana. Having come from a Communist country, Boban was surprised by the American way of life, with its enormous cars, endless freeways, bountiful supermarkets, and countless TV channels. He did not have much money at the time and he was not fluent in English, but “he firmly believed that hard work and determination would ultimately lead to a better life.” His story unfolds year by year, from 1984 to 2004. Much of it is a chronicle of the various jobs he had—from delivering pizzas and newspapers to working as a structural engineer, a restaurant manager, and a real estate agent. With his extraordinary work ethic and optimistic outlook—as well as some good luck here and there—he was able to overcome great obstacles and achieve his goals. As the years went by, Boban celebrated one milestone after another: having a son, earning a college degree, becoming a citizen, and buying his first home. There were troubles, too—his son had difficulties at school, for example, and the restaurant business was a bit of a headache—but Boban never allowed these things to discourage him or define his life. With all of the problems surrounding immigration today, it is encouraging to come across an émigré’s story that is filled with enthusiasm, happiness, and success. Early on, the author joyfully recalls a high point during his pizza-delivery days: a customer gave him one dollar as a tip (“My first tip in the United States! Yes!”). There are times when Blagojevic’s interest in himself becomes somewhat tedious (recounting test scores from college, for example). But as a whole, this memoir engages the reader from beginning to end. The author is an entertaining narrator with a knack for amusing anecdotes. He has an intriguing tale to share, and a captivating way of telling it.
An inspiring story of an immigrant achieving his American dream.