Adé by Rebecca Walker

January 6, 2014 Contemporary Fiction, Romance 17

Greetings, Bookworms!

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.*

17 Responses to “Adé by Rebecca Walker”

  1. Katie @ Doing Dewey

    Did you find the main character’s choices frustrating? This generally sounds like a very interesting book to me, but as a career-driven feminist, I feel like reading about a woman giving up so much for a relationship could really bother me. I think that probably depends on how the book is written though and on whether the main character ends up happy.

    • Words For Worms

      I did find her choices frustrating! It was strange too, because she seemed to be giving up so much of what she believed in as far as women’s rights goes… I couldn’t understand where she was coming from.

  2. Megan M.

    It is distracting when you can “see” the author in their story. I think that whole “write what you know” bit of advice really traps people into thinking that they can’t stray too far from themselves and their experiences. What it really means is that you need to know your subject well enough to make it feel “true.”

  3. Joules (from Pocketful of Joules)

    I think that the whole ‘traditional’ aspect of it would drive me nuts. Um… and laundry with a few cups of water?! No. Thank. You.

    As for changing for love… I thought I’d be a total hardbutt when it came to raising my kid. Like, if he wakes up in the middle of the night, the little bugger can just cry it out. But in reality, I LOVE those moments where he only wants to curl up on Mommy to fall back asleep. Yup, I’m a pushover.

  4. Jennifer St. James

    I totally feel you on the reconciling the fiction with the non fiction. I read a book about this guy who went to India and did all this cool stuff with the community, but it was based on his real life and I kinda feel like he wrote it as the version of what he wished had happened? Write a biography or write fiction…

    Anyway, on your question, I moved to California to the UK for my ex-husband when my mom was dying of cancer. London was worth it, the ex was not. 🙁 But I have a wonderful husband now, thank goodness!

  5. Darlene

    Things I said in college:

    “I will not stay home full time with my children, The thought of breast-feeding makes me nauseous, and Just shoot me if I homeschool.”
    So, yeah, I’ve made some decisions based on love….

  6. Sarah @ Sarah Says Read

    The ending kind of made me want to shake Farida. After that whirlwind, epic romance… the ending just seemed kind of unbelievable.

  7. Wendy @ Wensend

    Love the mention of redheaded Scotsmen: that’s my weak spot haha (though my boyfriend is totally the opposite :p). Buuuut intercultural thingies! That’s really my THANG. Might pick it up. I haven’t read anything by Walker, so I don’t think some things would come across as familiar. 😉

  8. Melinda

    Getting myself into a long distance relationship! It’s hard, because I’m quite a faithful and loyal person. I think I might like to read this book.

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