- Hardcover: 128 pages
- Publisher: Little A / New Harvest (October 29, 2013)
- ISBN-10: 054414922X
- Source: Publisher
A nineteen-year-old college student and her friend, Miriam, embark on a trip to Africa. The unnamed narrator’s life is forever altered upon arriving in Egypt, feeling as though she is finally home. With almond-shaped eyes and dark skin, she’s never really felt as though she’s belonged. Then, upon arrival at an island off the coast of Kenya, she meets Adé. An attractive Swahili Muslim, the life Adé leads is completely unlike anything the narrator has ever known. It is Adé who gives her the Arabic name, Farida.
Farida and Adé fall in love and Farida encourages her free-spirited friend, Miriam to continue her travels. When Farida and Adé decide to marry, Farida is thrust into a life rigid with Swahili wedding customs. It is required that Adé travel home with her to request her parents’ permission to marry. It is then that the young couple are forced to face the political war and a difficult life raging around them. Devoid of worldly possessions and even the most basic medical care, Farida contracts cerebral malaria and meningitis, demanding that she make a choice between her love of Adé and her own health and safety.
The cultures Farida is introduced to in her journeys alter her tremendously. A privileged Yale student, this is the first glimpse of a world unlike her own. The adversity that she and Adé were forced to face was heartbreaking. They overcame the cultural challenges only to be forced to surrender to a condition that only modern medicine can occur. The romantic in me wants to believe that love can conquer everything but alas, that is not always the case.
That’s not to say this is a dark and depressing read. Instead, it was incredibly rewarding and uplifting, watching Farida experience her rebirth and growth that would have never happened without Adé. He gave her a new life, a new outlook on her future and place in this world. The love that Farida shares with Adé is far beyond what we think of traditional and, perhaps due to this, is on a completely different parallel than the love that many of us face. They share a once in a lifetime sort of love, a beauty set in an area riddled with war and destruction. While this novel is short, it packs a punch that will linger, living readers breathless. It is a novel unlike any I have ever witnessed, a true gift. Highly, highly recommended.
Rebecca Walker is the author of the best-selling memoirs Black, White and Jewish and Baby Love, and editor of the anthology Black Cool. She is also the editor of the anthologies To Be Real, What Makes a Man, and One Big Happy Family. Her writing has appeared in Bookforum, Newsweek, Glamour, Marie Claire, The Washington Post, Vibe, and Interview, among many other publications, and she blogs regularly for The Root. For more information, please visit www.rebeccawalker.com and follow her on Twitter: @rebeccawalker.
Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me the opportunity to review this title. Be sure to check out the other stops in this tour.