I’m not immune to peer pressure, but you already knew that. I kept seeing Adé by Rebecca Walker around the blogoshpere and I simply had to give it a try. I read one of Rebecca Walker’s non fiction books (Baby Love) way back before I started blogging, so I had to see what all the hubbub was about.
The main character and her best friend decide to take a few years to travel through Africa after graduating college. They galavant through Egypt for a while and eventually end up on a small island off the coast of Kenya. Love blossoms when our narrator meets a young wood carver named Adé.
Adé and our narrator soon become an item, and get so serious that he decides she needs a culturally appropriate name. The narrator is thus dubbed “Farida.” It’s interesting to watch Farida’s attempts at assimilating into Adé’s culture. Though her Ivy League feminism remains in certain aspects of her life, Farida slowly begins to accept the more traditional aspects of life on the island. I was a little surprised at how readily she adapted to wearing traditional head scarves and robe-like coverings, but love has the ability to make us all do things we never thought we would. Heck, I never thought I’d have a case full of transformers in my basement, but there it is… (Grimlock is the coolest Dinobot, FYI.)
Adé and Farida’s love story is complicated by tradition, bureaucracy, political unrest, and malaria, but it is beautifully rendered. The prose is quite lovely. Unfortunately, having read Walker’s earlier non-fiction proved to be a detriment for me. I was thrown by this book because Farida’s life had SO MANY parallels to Walker’s. Farida is the biracial child of divorced parents who live on opposite coasts. Her white father is Jewish, her African American mother is a writer. I don’t necessarily have a problem with authors writing “what they know” so to speak, but this was awfully specific. I felt like Walker was describing her own life, which REALLY bothered me, because I kept trying to rectify this with details I already knew from Walker’s non fiction… Also, I kind of wanted to shake Farida, because I’m not sure any amount of love would entice me to stay on an island where you’re expected to do laundry using only three cups of water. (Unless, of course, I were drawn back in time and the love in question involved a dashing redheaded Scotsman…)
In all seriousness, this book is short and thought-provoking. Just because it didn’t ring all of my bells, doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work out well for you. If you’re in the mood for something a little heavier but don’t want to commit to a chunkster, this might be just the ticket.
Let’s talk about love an sacrifices… What have you done for love that you never thought you would? (It doesn’t have to be person love either. If you spoil the crap out of your dog, that counts too.)
*If you make a purchase of Adé through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*