Review: The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984: A Graphic Memoir

The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984: A Graphic Memoir
The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984: A Graphic Memoir by Riad Sattouf
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fascinating and disconcerting look at the young childhood of French-Syrian Riad Sattouf, as his family shifts between Paris, rural France, Libya, and Syria. In each location, he is expected to behave according to new rules that he does not understand. The adults around him seem compelled to share only the oddest and most terrifying family stories – What is a four or six year old to make of them? Sattouf’s father comes off badly – he appears capricious, selfish, and unwise, as well as leaning towards abusive. His mother, in this memoir, is silent and nearly without opinion. What version would each of them tell? A window into the mind of the very young, without context or adult perspective. Lots to think about.

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