The Arab of the Future 4

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Dec 2019

Member Reviews

The anger and hostility Riad Sattouf depicts regarding his surroundings and his family is still intense. It's the fourth volume of the series, and Riad's father is still terrible and racist, and it's hard to read about Riad's identity struggles (doesn't belong in Syria, but also doesn't belong in France), especially in his adolescence.
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'The Arab of the Future 4: A Graphic Memoir of a Childhood in the Middle East, 1987-1992' with words and art by Riad Sattouf is the 4th volume of memoirs by the author.

In this volume, Riad becomes an adolescence.  Meanwhile, his parent's marriage is falling apart.  His father is teaching in Saudi Arabia and his mother and the kids live in France.  His father wants them to all move to Syria, but his family and his racist ways make things difficult.  Meanwhile Riad wants the things other kids want, like sneakers and computers.

I like this series.  The family dynamic can be hard to read, but the story and art are good.  I'm glad I got a chance to read this 4th volume in Riad's story.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt & Company, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.
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This series continues to be strong though in many ways hard to read. The father’s racism is hard to tolerate. The ending was rather abrupt with a big open storyline so obviously the series will go on. The cultural aspects of both living in France and living in Syria are fascinating as Riad struggles in both places fitting in nowhere.
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It's hard to describe exactly how I felt about this book. It was well-drawn and written but the majority of the book is spent hearing the parents arguing and it does get a bit repetitive at times. I haven't read the previous books in this series but I definitely will because I would like to know the other side to his parent's marriage and what they were like when they first met and started a family. This book is filled with the very low points of their marriage with his mother trying to cope with raising a family on a limited income, a father who is far away most of the time, and the tug of war that they put the children through involving culture, religion, and language. It's probably one of the most real to life memoirs I've read in a long time which is probably why so much of it was just uncomfortable to read....because it's real life. I would definitely recommend this book because it gives you an interesting perspective of the struggles that a family from differing cultures would have to deal with when the parents have very different expectations for their children's futures.
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It should be noted that I have not read the earlier parts of this series. This book unnerved me with the anger and hostility that the parents show toward each other all the time. It left me with a sense of dread and doom for the entire family and Sattouf, in particular.
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I’ve never really been into graphic novels, until I found the Arab of the Future series written and illustrated by Riad Sattouf. This series has taught me that graphic novels can be an excellent way to learn about a topic or write a memoir.

In the fourth book in the series, Riad grapples with the average problems middle schoolers face, while also trying to handle the fact that his father has moved to Saudi Arabia to teach, while his family is in France. Riad deals with bullying and struggling with his identity as he never feels completely at home in Syria or France. Riad also is trying to grasp his fathers sudden interest in religion and his mother’s struggle to be happy.

This series is more than just a memoir, as Riad describes the events going on in the Middle East and France during his childhood.
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