Common Read

The Selection: I Was Their American Dream

Malaka Gharib’s book, I Was Their American Dream, is a graphic memoir, with important interdependent elements of narration, dialogue, and images. The book is the autobiographical story of Malaka’s struggles through childhood, youth, and early adulthood to come to terms with her bi-ethnic identity and life in the United States. She is the daughter of a Catholic mother from the Philippines and an Egyptian Muslim father, both of whom immigrated to the U.S. Her father returned to Egypt, where he formed a new family and pursued a new life. She tells her story with humor and compassion.  The book suggests that cultural differences can pose challenges, that cultural learning is positive, that each culture has its own richness. It suggests that most cultures recognize of the worth of family, individuals, food traditions, and celebration—underneath cultural differences, we are all human. It embraces diversity.

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