Graphic Novel Review: I Was Their American Dream

I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir by Malaka Gharib. Clarkson Potter, 2019. 9780525575115.

Malaka’s parents immigrated to the US in the early 1980s, her father from Egypt, her mother from the Philippines. They met working at a hotel and married soon after, but their marriage didn’t last. Malaka lived with her mother and saw her father on weekends (and then less frequently after he moved back to Cairo). Both her parents soon started new families yet they’re kind and loving and driven to do their best for Malaka. She had to navigate both her parents’ cultures, plus figure out who she was at school and at work, plus who would accept her with and how to present herself. At times it seems like it must have been tough, though the tone of her memoir is overwhelmingly positive. The drawings are great, too.

This feels like the perfect book to read before or after watching Jo Koy’s new Netflix stand up comedy special Comin’ In Hot.


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