Published June 27, 2017, Putnam
Genre: contemporary fiction
Source: borrowed from the library
A novel about jealousy, the unpredictable path of friendship, and the secrets kept in marriage, all set within the U.S. expat community of the Middle East during the rise of the Arab Spring. (publisher)
I really enjoyed this novel about the friendship and conflicts between two wives of American military personnel stationed in the Middle East during the Arab spring, with its uprisings and unrest. Besides describing the challenges of living in a new and mainly unfamiliar culture, the story focuses on two very different women, Cassie and Margaret, brought together by their husbands, Dan and Click's, military careers and by their need for friendship away from home.
Problems arise because the women have different backgrounds, personalities, and emotional needs. Their marriages are far from perfect and they both look for different things during their stay in Jordan. Cassie Hugo sticks to the rules of the embassy regarding travel safety and the ways women must be conservative in behavior and dress and in interacting with others, in particular men. Margaret Bradshaw, younger and more free spirited, disregards almost all the rules in wanting to experience the people and the culture in her own way. Cassie becomes upset and resentful when Margaret wants to branch out on her own to travel around the city and make friends with local people of all classes, relying on Cassie less and less and only to babysit her young toddler on occasion. This friendship comes to a head when something unexpected happens that creates serious conflict. Who, if anyone, is to blame?
The story was very interesting from a cultural point of view; it was also a revealing study in friendship that has some component of jealousy. Well written and engrossing, the book also left me appreciating some of the difficulties faced by families in the military living abroad.
May 13, 2011Page 56:
We are close, so close to Margaret's apartment, and I feel myself sink deeper into the passenger seat, relieved that I have succeeded in my small mission of getting Margaret out of her home, if only for a few hours. The day is a success. Sure, I had to let her drive something I usually avoid. Margaret is always too nervous, too chatty, looking around at the pedestrians forgetting to put on her signal, stomping on the brakes too late. But today I actually managed to snap her out of her sadness.I have done everything a good friend should.
Unlike me, Crick cannot tell a lie. For him, there is only one truth, and he tells it.Library book.
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