Booked Up with Jen Taub

Wajahat Ali on Go Back to Where You Came From

April 23, 2023

In This Episode:

In his written work and public persona, Wajahat Ali is known for his quick wit. Humor seems to come naturally to him, and yet, he has turned his gift into a craft deployed deliberately. In Go Back to Where You Came From, he notes, “Humor, both sublime and silly, sophmoric and sophisticated, unleashed with purpose, can often help communicate very real, hard truths about American society.”

At times this book is laugh-out-loud funny. Consider Waj’s comment about his mother after she told him that Santa Claus did not exist. “That same year, she decided to become the serial killer of all imaginary creatures.” But beneath the jokes about his family, there is also tremendous hardship and tests of loyalty and limits. His words resonate, “Sometimes, a nod of approval, or a compliment from family or a friend is all it takes, the small gust of wind that lifts the sails.”

He opens up to his low moments. He was thirty, essentially homeless, helping his parents who had lost their home to criminal forfeiture, and were about to serve sentences for white collar crime convictions. Yet he had a successful play in production in New York. Friends thought he had “made it” and didn’t understand when he revealed a bit of his reality.  “Eventually, I stopped telling anyone and just kept it all hidden.”

The enduring love of his wife Sarah is on display.Waj wrote this about proposing to his future wife, “I promised Sarah that one day I would ‘make it rain’ and to just be patient and that I had a lot of potential despite having very little at the moment. She looked at me and said, ‘Wajahat, I’m not marrying you for your potential. I’m marrying you for the man you are right now.’”


Contact Booked Up

You can email Jen & the Booked Up team at: BOOKEDUP@POLITICON.COM or by writing to: BOOKED UP, P.O. BOX 147, NORTHAMPTON, MA 01061


Get More from Waj Ali:

Twitter | Website | Author of GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM


Get More from Jen Taub:

Twitter | Website | Author of BIG DIRTY MONEY

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