Friday, March 1, 2013
The Ruins of Us by Keija Parssinen
When Rosalie, an American who was born in Saudi Arabia and returned years later with her Saudi husband, finds out her husband has taken a second wife, her world seems to fall apart. She struggles with the love she still feels for Abdullah and the betrayal of her trust, especially when she left her country and her culture behind for him. Despite their issues, the couple will need to band together in order to protect their teenage son Faisal, who's growing resentment towards American culture will plunge his family into a fight for their lives.
I don't think this was the right book for me. I have little interest in the Middle East and I have zero tolerance for cheating (even if the culture technically still allows polygamy). The whole subplot with Faisal was annoying to me, and the Rosalie/second wife plot wasn't played out to a depth I would have liked to see.
This is Parssinen's debut novel, and she obviously knows a lot about Saudi Arabia (she grew up there). While I think that her writing style was decent, I just didn't get pulled into the story. This is not the general consensus, I believe, so it probably has more to do with my non-interest in the subject matter and that the issues I was hoping would take center stage took more of a backseat. If Saudi Arabia and its culture interests you, you will probably like this book. It just wasn't for me.
2 out of 5 stars.