Current stop: Sri Lanka
The countryside wore a dress of green and white–tea bushes and waterfalls. A delicate sweep of rolling hills that gave way to the great rain forest Sinharaja beyond.
I will be honest: I picked this book because I was out of town and finished my previous book and forgot to pack another, and this was a cheap Kindle download. I have learned my lesson and will do a bit more research in the future.
This book just wasn’t for me. The tale was too romanticized and the dialogue was especially unbelievable. As a character proposes, he says to his beloved “love of my life, beat of my heart, rose of my garden, foam on my beer, cherry on my ice-cream sundae, will you marry me?” I…I just can’t get on board with that. Do people really talk like that? I find it hard to believe, and I personally would not take any seriously if they said something like that to me. I just don’t buy into over-the-top romanticism.
The plot itself was disjointed and choppy. The main character, Khadeeja, is (understandably) upset when, after her father’s death, she finds out that she was adopted. I had a lot of issue with the way her adoption was treated–basically, Khadeeja was a cute little girl the mother stumbled upon and decided she just had to have, and adopted without even consulting her husband. How could you do that to a child? Adoption, just like conceiving a child, is an important discussion that should be had between both parents. I took issue to the fact that this wasn’t even looked at as a strange or unusual thing, it was basically just a side note in the story. When this type of controversial event occurs in a novel, I like there to be some criticism or unpacking by the characters, but it was woefully lacking.
Khadeeja, in her anger at discovering she was adopted, goes on a personal journey that leads her to meet a young man. Around this point I almost gave up on the novel. He was, from the very beginning, a complete and utter asshole. Yet for some reason we are supposed to forgive him and we are supposed to root for a relationship to form between him and Khadeeja, we’re supposed to feel sorry for him (he had a terrible childhood!) but none of this excuses the selfish, abusive behavior he inflicts upon Khadeeja.
The writing is choppy, the dialogue forced, time lines shift in a confusing manner, and there are weird moments where the story is suddenly told through emails or letters which just does not flow well with the style of the rest of the novel. It was depressing to me to have serious issues brought up (adoption, abuse, etc) with absolutely no thoughtful analysis.
I kept hoping that the characters would engage in some critical thought or an important lesson would be learned, but I was disappointed. I did enjoy the descriptions of Sri Lanka (when description was present–the book really is almost entirely painfully written dialogue), and I will say I would love to actually visit someday.
I know it doesn’t really matter, but I also despise the cover of this book. It has no connection to the content whatsoever.
Next stop: Bangladesh.