3 out of 4 stars
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Official Review: My Trip to Adele by A. I. Alyaseer/R. I. Alyaseer
My Trip to Adele is a fictional odyssey to an Adele concert in Verona, Italy by three couples. Elias was coming to hopefully meet up with a Moroccan girl he had met eight years earlier when she was just 13 and a prostitute. Yaser had purchased concert tickets to hopefully rekindle the spark of his marriage that was on the brink of failure. Nadia was planning to celebrate her freedom from an oppressed marriage by traveling with her young son to the concert as his birthday gift.
Each chapter of the book ends with Adele song lyrics to match the scenario. This seemed very contrived, but is the premise of the book, leading up to Adele’s actual concert. The book is delightfully filled with culture and depths of relationships, which is its saving grace. The day of the concert finds all three relationships at the apex of decision-making. Fortunately, the endings are not forced or textbook, but show the complexity of human relationships.
The book is still in need of some editing. A common error such as “once and a while” instead of “once in a while” should be caught before publication. There are just a few such moments to annoy the reader. My biggest problem was starting each chapter unsure of who was speaking and in which situation, as the title of each chapter was the corresponding Adele song noted at the end of the chapter. I felt at a loss for most of the book. Although the characters were slowly becoming three-dimensional people, it took most of the book to feel that I knew them. This is often the case where a novel is portraying seemingly unrelated stories of many characters. I personally prefer a book where I develop a strong sense of character quickly and then enjoy the character development.
My Trip to Adele is a good read, and I would rate it 3 out of 4 stars. I enjoyed the story when I finally felt I understood the character(s) involved, or at least had a sense of who they were. I found the characters interesting, and the cultural portrayal of foreign countries which I am not familiar with were well written. I could almost taste and smell the back alleys and mountain vistas. How sad to see a 13-year-old girl sold by her mother into prostitution, and her father dancing as a veiled woman in the streets to earn a humiliating living. The brutal honesty of life in poverty, as well as those of privilege, added great depth to the stories of love and betrayal, religious faith and atheism, marriage and divorce, abuse of power and sacrifice. The characters and their dilemmas were resolved satisfactorily in the end.
My Trip to Adele
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