Thank you so much to Henry Holt for providing my free copy – all opinions are my own.
“I didn’t even believe in God. But did my believing in something render it true? Doesn’t the truth remain the truth, regardless of what I think? My mother used to say that God stopped sending plagues because He realized it would be faster to wait until we destroyed ourselves.”
The book opens with an unnamed narrator, a teenage girl from Boston, and her Ethiopian immigrant father, living on an undisclosed island. The story then switches back to life if Boston, prior to the island, where her parents are still together. Here, she starts hanging around a man named Ayale, a parking lot attendant. In the subsequent chapters, the narrator recounts the events that led up to living on the island and eventually meeting Ayale, a man she is so bewitched by that she is blind to what he truly is.
This essentially is a coming-of-age story of a young narrator who has an estranged relationship with her parents. It starts off a bit rough, but once I kept reading, it pulled me in. Tamirat does a fantastic job writing these characters: Ayale is complex and charismatic while our young narrator is clever and witty. I enjoyed seeing the world through her eyes, learning about her family, and the Ethiopian community. Some areas of the story seemed a bit far-fetched, but it didn’t bother me. Overall, I really enjoyed it.
My rating is 3 / 5 stars!
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