I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir

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Growing up as a Filipino-Egyptian American, Malaka Gharib often struggled to know where she belonged. After her parents divorced, when she was in the third grade, Malaka spent the school year with her mother in California and the summers in Egypt with her father. The cultural clash between her Catholic Filipino family and Muslim Egyptian family was a tough road to navigate, but she managed to do it with humor and grace, all of which she captures in I Was Their American Dream.

For Gharib, there was beauty in both of her ancestral cultures, but the contradictions between them were often difficult to navigate. She found herself in limbo as a pork-eating, rosary-reciting Catholic in California and a Muslim who prayed to one God and didn’t eat pork in Egypt. As she came to grapple with these disparate parts of who she is, she was also an American growing up in a diverse community before she attended a homogenous, and very white, university.

At each turn, the illustrations in this graphic memoir are filled with joy. Even as Malaka grapples with the difficulties she encounters, she is a curious, funny, and kind protagonist who you can’t help but root for and celebrate as you read. I Was Their American Dream is an excellent representation of a very particular way of growing up in America that is, even in its uniqueness, absolutely relatable and universal.


Reviewed By:

Author Malaka Gharib
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 160 pages
Publisher Crown Publishing
Publish Date 2019-04-30
ISBN 9780525575115
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue June 2019
Category Sequential Art
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