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I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir Paperback – Illustrated, April 30, 2019
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“A heartwarming tribute to immigrant families and their descendants trying to live the American dream.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Malaka Gharib tells the origin story of a person, somebody with hopes and fears and dreams. . . . Malaka looks to the future, to the expansive family that she has built and inherited, across continents and cultures. This memoir is as much a tribute to them as is her own coming of age story.”—Jeff Daughterty, BookTrib
“With a sincere approach, this graphic memoir will bring to mind Persepolis, but it is absolutely on its own quirky wavelength.”—Henry Chamberlain, Comics Grinder
"I Was Their American Dream is a pure and utter delight. With both a deft lightness and a deep poignancy, Malaka Gharib perfectly captures the feeling of growing up—of being a child of immigrants, of being a woman of color, of being thrown in the mix between cultures, of love, of family—with nostalgia, humor, and heart. Her words and illustrations are wittily observed and emotional in equal measure, able to draw a laugh and a tear over the span of a single page. I Was Their American Dream is 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, author and illustrator of everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too and New York Times best-selling illustrator of Gmorning, Gnight! by Lin-Manuel Miranda
About the Author
- Lexile measure : GN490L
- Paperback : 160 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-0525575115
- Item Weight : 13.8 ounces
- Product dimensions : 6.03 x 0.53 x 9.01 inches
- Publisher : Clarkson Potter; Illustrated edition (April 30, 2019)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #23,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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From the references to spam, Bahay kubo, eating noodles on birthdays, to the struggle living so far from family yet wanting to be there for all the big moments, I read some pages as if this was my own story.
I just want to say thank you to Malaka for sharing her story. I hope we see more stories from her in the future!
Gharib shares her story in such a funny, heartfelt, and vibrant way with spunky and honest language and colorful cartoons too! Like when was even the last time I read a book with pictures? I’m so grateful for this book because it highlights a similar experience a lot of us go through—one that, at the time, we probably felt like was unique to only us. This book lets so many people know that they’re not alone.
Reading this book made me really happy. It gave me a sense of nostalgia but also a different perspective on how to look at my past. This book also made me a little sad because it made me realize I’ve spent a lot of time feeling othered and disconnected from my “Filipino-ness” and that as an adult I have yet to completely come to terms with it. This is the kinda book that after you finish it makes you call your grandma to thank her for everything, to tell her you love her and to you ask her to teach you how to cook her favorite recipe. Reading Gharib's family story left me curious to ask questions about my own and for that this book is probably my favorite thing I’ve read all year.
Full disclosure: I was fortunate enough to be Malaka's first grade teacher at Our Lady of Fatima School in Artesia, California! Many of our students came from two different cultures, but Malaka was the only one of Egyptian-Filipino heritage. I am so proud of Malaka for finding her own way, and for writing a book that encourages others to do the same. This memoir would make an excellent textbook for junior high students who often struggle with feeling accepted.
Congratulations, Malaka, and well done!
Top reviews from other countries
'Making it' in America by emulating the 'white people' is what she has been taught and grown up with. But life and work and moving away from her immigrant town Cerritos for studies to NYC and work in DC opens up Malaka's world. Does she fulfill her parents desire of living the American dream and doing better than them? In her own unique way yes.
Yet another wonderful discovery with its quirky illustrations and dollops of humor atop a poignant reminiscence