All My Rage by Burroughs graduate Sabaa Tahir

All My Rage by Burroughs graduate Sabaa TahirBruce Auld, a former Sierra Sands Unified School District Superintendent, is writing the history of Burroughs High School. The articles that are being published are excerpts from his upcoming book, exclusive to The News Review. Sabaa Tahir is a 2000 graduate of Burroughs High School and best-selling author in the young adult/fantasy genre. Her previous best-selling novels, the An Ember in the Ashes Quartet: An Ember in the Ashes, A Torch Against the Night, A Reaper at the Gates and A Sky Beyond the Storm. I bought the four-book set when I first learned that Sabaa was a Burroughs graduate. Not for me, but for my fourteen-year-old granddaughter Avery, who reads this genre at the rate of a book a day. I asked her to rate Sabaa’s books and she responded with a bright smile and two thumbs up. I seldom read fiction, but like Jodi Picoult, I read All My Rage in one sitting. Although based on Sabaa’s family’s story of owning and living in a motel in Ridgecrest, Sabaa has crafted a superb fiction novel based on her own true story. I recommend it without reservation.

“The novel is based on Tahir’s own childhood being raised in her family’s motel in the Mojave Desert, and uses the story of two high school best friends growing up as outcasts to explore cultural identity and intergenerational trauma. I didn’t realize that growing up in a motel was unusual until my senior year of high school, when all my peers were agonizing over their college entrance essays. After a dozen fruitless attempts to explain my uniqueness in 500 words, I went back to the beginning. I thought I’d cross out most of what I wrote, but I had no other ideas about how to start. ‘I was born in London,’ I wrote, ‘But I grew up in California, in the desert, at a motel.’ That sentence was the moment my childhood became a story instead of a haunted room in my head. A lot of writers know this moment; many of us need it. It can help us make peace with whatever monsters rampage through our memories. It can help us turn something painful into something useful. For years, the motel occupied one of those two spaces. First, something painful: a place where a bell was always ringing. A tenant was always asking for something. Money was always short. Our brown skin, Muslim faith, and immigrant status meant we didn’t fit in. And then I wrote that college entrance essay, and the motel became something useful.” (From Motel Ghosts by Sabaa Tahir, published by VOX)

Although Sabaa’s family owned the old Yucca Inn on Felspar in Ridgecrest, the book is set in “Cloud’s Rest Inn Motel in Juniper, California.” “Salahudin and Noor (Sabaa) are more than best friends; they are family. Growing up as out-casts in the small desert town of Juniper, California, they understand each other the way no one else does. Until the Fight, which destroys their bond with the swift fury of a star exploding. Sal scrambles to run the family motel as his mother Misbah’s health fails and his father loses himself to alcoholism. Noor (Sabaa), meanwhile, walks a harrowing tightrope: working at her wrathful uncle’s liquor store while hiding the fact that she’s applying to college so she can escape him-and Juniper-forever. When Sal’s attempts to save the motel spiral out of control, he and Noor (Sabaa) must ask themselves what friendship is worth-and what it takes to defeat the monsters in their pasts and the ones in their midst.” (Book Jacket)

In fall of 2000, Sabaa left the motel in Ridgecrest for UCLA. After graduating from UCLA, Sabaa interned at the Washington Post, later advancing to international news editor, then launching her career as a fiction writer. Mike Philips (Trona High School 1965) and legendary BHS English teacher got a shout-out from Sabaa on the acknowledgement page.

Sabaa’s brother, Haroon Saleem graduated from Burroughs in 1996. He is Sabaa Tahir’s older brother and is President of Production for Trevor Noah’s Viacom-backed Day Zero Productions. Trevor Noah is the star of the “Daily Show,” airing weeknights on the Comedy Channel.

Football Again!

I thought I was done with football, then Janice Lingren (BHS 1972-2007, with an encyclopedic memory) reminded me about Mike Waters. Robert Michael “Mike” Waters (BHS 1981) played tight end and running back first at Burroughs and then at Bakersfield College. Having a successful football career at San Diego State University, Mike was drafted in the 1985 NFL draft by the New York Jets, yet played running back for one season with the Philadelphia Eagles and one season with the New Orleans Saints. (NFL Stats)

Six Burros have signed professional football contracts. Pete Pifer (BHS 1963) was drafted by the New York Giants in the 11th round of the 1967 NFL draft, yet apparently did not play. Ted Bachman (BHS 1969) played two years with the Seattle Seahawks and the Miami Dolphins. Brant Tunget (BHS 1975) played two years in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants and the Los Angeles Rams. Mike Waters (BHS 1981) was drafted in the 1985 NFL draft by the New York Jets, yet played running back for one season with the Philadelphia Eagles and one season with the New Orleans Saints. Joseph Tuipala (BHS 1994) played two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Demario Brown (BHS 1995) signed as a free agent with the Tennessee Titans. For now, I am keeping an eye on several Burroughs graduates still in the professional football hunt.

Scott Shaklett: The Only BHS Burro to Appear in a Super Bowl Commercial

On most Friday mornings, Ann and I take our all-electric Jim Charlon “E” Ford Focus to Inyokern to Scott and Gale Shacklett’s tomato farm at 559 Oriole to buy their phenomenal tomatoes, cucumbers and soon, peaches. Recently driving back to Ridgecrest, I recalled that Scott (BHS 1967) starred in a Super Bowl L (50) Freschetta’s Pizza commercial on February 7, 2016 with co-star “Tillie Mae the cow.” Standing behind bushels of bright red tomatoes, Scott’s one second line was, “Beauties, aren’t they?” Hoping Scott doesn’t quit his day job. For the whole story, search Spotlight on Tomato Man by Kelly Cosner, February 5, 2016 edition of the News Review. The commercial is available on YouTube.

Courtesy Photo : 2000 graduate of Burroughs High School and best-selling author Sabaa Tahir and her new release “All My Rage”.

Story First Published: 2022-03-25