The Paradise projects are only a few metro stops from Paris, but here it's a whole different kind of France. Doria's father, the Beard, has headed back to their hometown in Morocco, leaving her and her mom to cope with their mektoubtheir destinyalone. They have a little help-- from a social worker sent by the city, a psychiatrist sent by the school, and a thug friend who recites Rimbaud.
It seems like fates dealt them an impossible hand, but Doria might still make a new life. She'll prove the projects aren't only about rap, soccer, and religious tension. Shell take the Arabic word kif-kif (same old, same old) and mix it up with the French verb kiffer (to really like something). Now she has a whole new motto: Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow.
The strength of Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow (pronounced keef) is the narrator's voice. Doria, a bubbling pot of contradicting teenage emotions is a wickedly funny observer of her environment, who doesn't believe in leaving things unsaid and has made a moral code for herself from TV programs, "TV today is like the poor person's Koran". Through short, diary-like chapters she brings us up close and personal with her life and the very real problems of being a poor immigrant living in an effective ghetto, surrounded by poverty, bigotry, racism and misogyny - so we can get some sense of how overwhelming it is to survive in such an environment, let alone to dream of finding a better life. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
San Francisco Chronicle
[C]ompelling... reveals Guene to be a promising addition to the world's literary voices.
A feisty, invigorating debut. [F]unny, infuriating, and hopeful about young womanhood and cultural welter. A-
Think of Doria on the same adolescent raft as Huck Finn and Holden Caulfield. A cunning wonder.
This small novel reads like a quiet celebration within a chaotic ghetto.
Humor is abundant, despite the grim themes, and Doria is a compelling protagonist. Readers will cheer as she navigates through volatile terrain and eventually triumphs.
Booklist - Hazel Rochman
Touching, furious, sharp, and very funny.... honest about the oppression of women and about the prejudice, both ways, Guene also shows those who break free.
[A] smart, upbeat debut...an empowering new voice transforms kif-kif-same old, same old-into kiffer, something to be crazy about.
Laila Lalami, author of Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits
Moving and irreverent, sad and funny, full of rage and intelligence. [Guène's] characters are unforgettable, her voice fresh, and her book a delight.
Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street
A tale for anyone who has ever lived outside looking in, especially from that alien country called adolescence. A funny, heartfelt story from a wise guy who happens to be a girl. If you've ever fallen in love, if you've ever had your heart broken, this story is your story.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Lisa Conors A relateable novel This is a great book about a teenager who expresses all of her feeling, all the while being heartfelt.
22-year-old Faïza Guène (pronounced Fie-ee-za Gen - first syllable rhymes
with pie) attends the University of St. Denis where she is a sociology major, and has just
completed her first short film. The child of Algerian immigrants, she was
born in France and grew up in
the public housing projects of Pantin, a suburb North-East of Paris. For
several years before going to university she was part of a publicly financed
neighborhood film project writing scripts for TV. She started writing
Kiffe Kiffe when she was about seventeen, writing in longhand in cafes and
on her parents' bed in their two-bed apartment that she shares with her parents
and two siblings. She describes her mother as "a strong character who
always sacrificed everything for the family," and her father, a retired
construction worker, as "quiet but wise". She showed the first pages of
the book to one of the film project advisors, who in turn showed it to his
sister, an editor at Hachette - who paid Faiza an advance of $900. Faiza
Nidali narrates the story of her childhood in Kuwait, her teenage years in Egypt, and her familys last flight to Texas, offering a humorous, sharp but loving portrait of an eccentric middle-class family.
Judge rules unused Borders gift cards to be worthless(May 23 2013) Borders owes nothing to holders of roughly $210.5 million of gift cards that had not been used by the time the bookstore chain shut down, a Manhattan federal...