INDIE VIEW: ‘I Was Their American Dream’ celebrates the immigrant experience as crucial to America

I Was Their American Dream

By Malaka Gharib

Clarkson Potter

In I Was Their American Dream, cartoonist Malaka Gharib displays an infectious enthusiasm for openness as she relates her experience as the child of immigrants, a Filipino mother and Egyptian father, and the intricacies of finding her own place in America in context of her heritage and the sometimes bizarre, hostile tones that mainstream American culture can direct towards her because of it.

Her parents present two polar opposite views of going to America. Her mother’s vision is mostly repulsion, convinced that her status will shrink and more will be required of her to survive. Her father’s is almost a fetish, born from his preoccupation with America as it appeared in the movies he saw, which is much like falling prey to propaganda. The truth is somewhere in between, and it’s revealed in Gharib’s own life experience.

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