4 out of 4 stars
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My Trip to Adele follows the journey of three couples in different parts of the world as they attempt to pursue a life of happiness despite their limited freedom. Although each couple has a different story to tell, they each draw strength and comfort from the lyrics of British singer/songwriter, Adele.
Elias is a young man from Morocco who lives and works in Rome, Italy. One night he has a chance encounter with a fortune teller who offers to reveal his destiny. He entertains the woman and gives her his hand, and when she tells him she sees his heart still aches for her, he looks away in disbelief. But, when she mentions the girl by name, he knows he has no choice but to follow her instructions to find his lost love.
Next, we are introduced to a pair of physicians who live in Las Vegas, Nevada. Although they were deeply in love at the beginning of their union, after eight apathetic years of marriage, they have fallen into a loveless routine. As a last resort, they attend counseling together where they learn it is too late for kind words. If they want to repair their broken marriage, they must search for a unique way to rekindle their dwindling flame.
Our last couple is a mother and son duo who live in Amman, Jordon. The son is about to turn ten years old and despite his age, he is captivated by the music of Adele. For his birthday, his mother wishes to gift him a trip to Verona, Italy to see Adele live in concert, and she has spent several months saving every penny for the event. She is determined to travel alone with her son and to experience a taste of true freedom, that is if her cunning boss and spiteful ex-husband agree to let her go.
I was only 20 pages into this book when I knew it would be a great read. As their journey unfolds, each couple seems to be working through similar issues of love and marriage. The women in this tale are resolute and determined, but they have been born into a passive role in their society which conflicts them greatly. The obstacles they face in their daily lives is enough to make any feminist cringe, but what I love most about this book is the positive portrayal of the voices of these oppressed women as they endure the repugnance of their circumstances.
What I liked least about this book was the gender inequality in the Arab world. Women are conflicted because the men in their lives have the right to make decisions for them for no other reason than because they are men. There is also a lot of pressure on women to get married and start a family at a certain age. Marriage is seen as a constraint and when, not if, a husband strays the wives are required to support them.
I would also like to point out there are additional topics touched upon in this book, domestic violence, and prostitution being among them, but they are only presented as memories of the characters as not as actual scenes.
The only other issue I have with this book is that it skips around between characters as the plot unfolds. This style of writing can be exhausting to follow, not because you get lost jumping around, but because if you're like me, and you allow the characters to become a part of you, you don't want to pause the dialogue for any reason, even if it's to reunite with the characters you were just enthralled with ten minutes earlier.
This book is a captivating read, and I found myself hanging on every word. I read it from cover to cover in one sitting, and I am still reeling from the effects a day later. As I approached the last chapter, I realized I didn't want this book to end, because the characters were so intriguing, and I had become very attached to them. But, as the chapter came to a final close, I found myself satiated and exhausted, and I gladly surrendered to the authors' last words. I enthusiastically rate this book 4 out of 4 stars and recommend it to readers who enjoy this same genre of contemporary fiction as well as to readers who enjoy general fiction and romance.
Trip to Adele
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