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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Book Review of Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow

I just finished reading an advance copy of Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow. It is by Faiza Guene, a child of Algerian immigrants, who grew up in the public housing projects of Pantin, outside Paris. This is her first book and I believe she wrote it as a teenager, she’s now in university.

Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow was originally published in French and this is the translated version. There are a couple of references to North American TV that I hope are the author’s original references and not the translator’s attempt to Americanize it for a US audience. That aside, Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow is a brilliant insight into the teenage mind, the mind of a girl who is bullied because of her not-right, bargain sale clothes, her learning skills, and her poverty. This isn’t just the story of an immigrant experience in the Paris projects, it’s the story of growing up and the displaced teenage years. I particularly enjoyed the Paris references though. The current student protests and the riots last summer make a little more sense to me—the volatility, the insecurity, the pressure of those on the fringe.

Laila Lalami of MoorishGirl.com reviewed it and said, “moving and irreverent, sad and funny, full of rage and intelligence. Her voice is fresh, and her book a delight.”

Here’s an excerpted quote from Amazon.ca
He thought I’d forged my mom’s name on the slip. How stupid is that? On this thing Mom just made a kind of squiggly shape on the page. That jerk didn’t even think about what he was saying, didn’t even ask himself why her signature might be weird. He’s one of those people who think illiteracy is like AIDS. It only exists in Africa.
—from Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow

I really like the cover of this book, check it out on Amazon.ca.

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