I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir
I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir

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Annotation: In this heartfelt tribute to the American immigrant experience, the author recalls her eventful childhood as the daughter of Egyptian and Filipino immigrants, and her struggle to adapt her heritage to a new world.
Catalog Number: #211096
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Graphic Novel Graphic Novel
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 156 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-525-57511-1 Perma-Bound: 0-605-01739-5
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-525-57511-5 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-01739-9
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2018287556
Dimensions: 24 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
A graphic memoir about being half Filipino, half Egyptian—and 100 percent American.After her parents' divorce, debut author Gharib spent her school years with her Filipino relatives in Cerritos, California, and summers with her father and his new family in Egypt. She honestly recounts the challenges she faced as a biracial child trying to appease both sides of her family, providing detailed (and oftentimes humorous) insights into her parents' cultural differences, both significant (her mother is Catholic while her father is Muslim) and nuanced (food, etiquette, expectations for her behavior). Gharib thoughtfully explores the gradations of diversity and what they meant to different people. In elementary school, Filipino classmates commented on her less-than-Filipino name and appearance. In high school, surrounded mostly by students of color but still feeling marginalized due to her bicultural, biracial heritage, she was criticized for her obsession with white culture. Readers also experience Gharib's transition to college and her first job—far away from her family and requiring huge adjustments as she entered mostly white worlds. She eventually married Darren, a white man from Tennessee. Charmingly unsophisticated illustrations, predominantly—and appropriately—colored in red, white, and blue, and Gharib's authentic voice make her story personable and accessible. Dispersed throughout are unique interactives, including a bingo chart of microaggressions, a mini zine tutorial, and Tagalog flashcards.A heartwarming tribute to immigrant families and their descendants trying to live the American dream. (Graphic memoir. 13-adult)
Publishers Weekly
This charming graphic memoir riffs on the joys and challenges of developing a unique ethnic identity. With a Catholic Filipino mother, whom she lives with in Southern California; a close-knit extended Filipino family; and an Egyptian Muslim father and mother-in-law, whom she visits in the summer after her parents- divorce, Gharib tries to find a balance between the cultures that are her heritage. It proves difficult at her racially diverse high school, where aligning with a specific group is integral to fitting in, and almost equally so at Syracuse University, where Gharib discovers that her constant exposure to white people in pop culture didn-t prepare her for the clash of living among them-or the pressures (and guilt) of assimilation. Gharib-s enthusiastic, if naive, scribbly art style is reminiscent of Lynda Barry in the way it captures moments of chaotic Filipino family life. With the inclusions of recipes, Tagalog flashcards, tongue-in-cheek charts, an excerpt from her high school zine, and even a -Microaggressions Bingo- card, Gharib-s storytelling remains upbeat through life-s ups and downs. This lighthearted narrative, self-reflective but never angst-ridden, has wide appeal. (Apr.)
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A graphic memoir about being half Filipino, half Egyptian—and 100 percent American.After her parents' divorce, debut author Gharib spent her school years with her Filipino relatives in Cerritos, California, and summers with her father and his new family in Egypt. She honestly recounts the challenges she faced as a biracial child trying to appease both sides of her family, providing detailed (and oftentimes humorous) insights into her parents' cultural differences, both significant (her mother is Catholic while her father is Muslim) and nuanced (food, etiquette, expectations for her behavior). Gharib thoughtfully explores the gradations of diversity and what they meant to different people. In elementary school, Filipino classmates commented on her less-than-Filipino name and appearance. In high school, surrounded mostly by students of color but still feeling marginalized due to her bicultural, biracial heritage, she was criticized for her obsession with white culture. Readers also experience Gharib's transition to college and her first job—far away from her family and requiring huge adjustments as she entered mostly white worlds. She eventually married Darren, a white man from Tennessee. Charmingly unsophisticated illustrations, predominantly—and appropriately—colored in red, white, and blue, and Gharib's authentic voice make her story personable and accessible. Dispersed throughout are unique interactives, including a bingo chart of microaggressions, a mini zine tutorial, and Tagalog flashcards.A heartwarming tribute to immigrant families and their descendants trying to live the American dream. (Graphic memoir. 13-adult)
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Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Library Journal
Publishers Weekly
Reading Level: 6.0
Interest Level: 7-12
Lexile: GN490L

“A portrait of growing up in America, and a portrait of family, that pulls off the feat of being both intimately specific and deeply universal at the same time. I adored this book.”—Jonny Sun
 
“[A] high-spirited graphical memoir . . . Gharib’s wisdom about the power and limits of racial identity is evident in the way she draws.”—NPR

WINNER OF THE ARAB AMERICAN BOOK AWARD • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • The New York Public Library • Kirkus Reviews

I Was Their American Dream is at once a coming-of-age story and a reminder of the thousands of immigrants who come to America in search for a better life for themselves and their children. The daughter of parents with unfulfilled dreams themselves, Malaka navigated her childhood chasing her parents' ideals, learning to code-switch between her family's Filipino and Egyptian customs, adapting to white culture to fit in, crushing on skater boys, and trying to understand the tension between holding onto cultural values and trying to be an all-American kid.

Malaka Gharib's triumphant graphic memoir brings to life her teenage antics and illuminates earnest questions about identity and culture, while providing thoughtful insight into the lives of modern immigrants and the generation of millennial children they raised. Malaka's story is a heartfelt tribute to the American immigrants who have invested their future in the promise of the American dream.

Praise for I Was Their American Dream

“In this time when immigration is such a hot topic, Malaka Gharib puts an engaging human face on the issue. . . . The push and pull first-generation kids feel is portrayed with humor and love, especially humor. . . . Gharib pokes fun at all of the cultures she lives in, able to see each of them with an outsider’s wry eye, while appreciating them with an insider’s close experience. . . . The question of ‘What are you?’ has never been answered with so much charm.”—Marissa Moss, New York Journal of Books

“Forthright and funny, Gharib fiercely claims her own American dream.”Booklist

“Thoughtful and relatable, this touching account should be shared across generations.”– Library Journal

“This charming graphic memoir riffs on the joys and challenges of developing a unique ethnic identity.”– Publishers Weekly


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