Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow

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Disarmingly funny and fresh, Gune's debut novel is a hopeful, wise, and intimate portrait of Arab immigrant life, as it follows Doria, a 15-year-old Muslim French girl living in the infamous Paradise projects of suburban Paris.

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Arla

Apr 3, 2007

Funny and Touching

I don't know how much this matters, but I read the book in the original French, and am assuming that the English version loses much in the way of Guene's wit, especially in her use of much of French and Arab slang. Nonetheless, the book is a wonderful account of a young French girl's struggles growing up as an Arab immigrant in France.

For starters, Kiffe Kiffe means love love, which is a play on a different expression that roughly means same old, same old. By the end of the novel, Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow has a happier connotation for plot reasons, as the girl is no longer experiencing the monotony of everyday life, but experiencing the joys of what love can do.

Doria is in middle school and we see her deal with her father's departure as he leaves her mother for a younger woman in Morocco. She goes through school as a quiet observer, and her insights into the French educational system and social services sector (her and her mother are visited regularly by a welfare agent whose name Doria can never remember, and Doria sees her school psychologist weekly) are illuminating and at the same time hilarious. The book is funny and filled with a plethora of pop-culture and American references that make you wonder at the extent of "Hollywood"'s influence on youth everywhere.

I recommend this book for anyone wanting a better and varied understanding of French youth culture, and anyone wanting a good laugh. An easy read, and popular bestseller in France, that can be read as light reading or more in-depth as an example of minority literature at its most illuminating.

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