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Although fairly banal in the way the narrator talks about her daily preoccupations, her experience builds up into a useful vision of life in the suburbs today for many immigrant families. As such it illustrates the thematic topics around immigration without an emphasis on violence as is the case with films like La haine.
The interest of the novella
Written by 19 year old Faïza Guène, daughter of north African immigrants this account of a year in one girl's life is presented in approachable, ironically humorous chapters rich in detail about what if feels like to belong to a less favoured group in society.
The sarcastic, cynical Doria, thrown into poverty by the departure of her father who hankers after a male son, references popular culture as her main source of metaphor. The language is direct, almost in diary format and is very contemporary in style with some use of verlan.
The narrator savages the heroine as well as the succession of social workers who come to help her and her mother. As she finds stability through her further education course and love from an unexpected direction Doria grudgingly accepts what the French state is doing for her.