Great news: I have a new book to rave about and recommend off the tip of my tongue as soon as someone suggests a title to read. Last year was 'Gone Girl' by Gillian Flynn (click HERE to read the BookFabulous review). Less than a week into this new year and I'm already excited about Liane Moriarty's latest book 'The Husband's Secret'.
The novel, set in Australia, is about a woman, Cecilia Fitzpatrick, who is living the perfect life. She is in love with and married to the town's handsome much-loved and highly-respected member of the community, Jean Paul, who happens to come from a well-to-do family as well. Together they have three beautiful high achieving young daughters. Chairman of the school's PTA, Cecilia has also recently launched a new very successful career involving Tupperware. In short, the woman has it all.
One day, while searching for a souvenir in the attic - a piece of the original Berlin Wall as it happens - to give to her teenage daughter who is currently obsessed with that story having moved on from her obsession with the Titanic, she accidentally stumbles upon a sealed enveloped addressed in her name. Recognising the writing as that of Jean Paul she cannot open it as it has clear instructions that Cecilia is only to ever read the letter in the event of his death.
And here the dilemma starts. Does she open it knowing full well that if she told any one of her friends about it, nearly every one of them would urge her to do just that? Or should she return it to where she found it and pretend it didn't even exist? But it does exist she reasons and starts to obsess about finding answers to questions like why it was there in the attic and not filed away with all of Jean Paul's other legal work? and why had he not given it to their solicitor to keep in the first place?
Her decision? Of course, she opens the letter - (I am not spoiling this for you as the title of the book kind of gives it away) but when she does, it is only to discover that in her hand she holds something akin to a Pandora's box (who by the way Moriarty begins and ends her novel with) that now unleashed unto Cecilia's universe has set in motion a string of events that will change the lives of those closest and dearest.
What Moriarty does with this novel is very clever. She brings a group of ordinary people leading ordinary lives and strings them together in the most extraordinary way. Yet in spite of the novel switching from one character's life to the other, there is an order to the madness and it flows beautifully. However, the reader will run out of guessing options as to the content of the letter and then as to where on earth Moriarty is leading us all. And by us, I mean the readers. For once that letter is opened the reader is no longer an impartial entity but remains challenged throughout. It's like Moriarty defies you to act any differently to her characters when faced with the same situations. It is a novel that will force you to address who you are at your core and what you would do when your values, beliefs, and everything you know about wrong and right are put to the test.
The plot is very believable, so much so that it will have book club members shouting over each other to be heard and most likely at each other. And that in my opinion makes it well worth reading and ultimately gives depth and credibility to the writing. It is a novel about redemption, love, and closure. It is a story about regrets, guilt, and many many secrets.
My best friend and I are still at lock horns with her unbudging attitude that Cecilia should not have opened the letter in the first place. My argument? why write a letter with a secret if you don't want to be found out? Which one of us is right? We'd like you to be the judge of that so come on, go and read/download the book now. A friendship could be at stake here :)
Welcome back everyone and happy 2014!
Boy, oh boy do I have a lot (seriously a lot) of book recommendations to throw your way. Christmas holidays, never a quiet affair in this household, saw me with time to read loads and loads of new and not so new titles finally decreasing that pile of books in the corner collecting dust. My cleaning lady is the happiest person on Earth right now. Yes, I have a live-in cleaner (I'm in Abu Dhabi now duh!) and yes, she really is happy (my judgement is based on her whistling tune - on that some other post).
Anyway, back to business and since I'm on the subject of cleaners, I thought I'd kick the year off with a Dubai-based memoir by Becky Wicks aptly called 'Burqalicious: The Dubai Diaries'. But why is my cleaning lady relevant to this I sense you wondering? well, because it seems that according to Becky's book she would have us believe that expats in Dubai are all blessed with one (a cleaner that is, not a Becky) and by the time expats leave the magical city of Dubai they've forgotten how to wipe stains off a floor or how to stack anything in a dishwasher. A bit of an exaggeration (a thing this book is apt to do quite often) but I can see that happening ;)
However, this is a hilarious, casual, not too seriously written memoir about Wicks' time in Dubai between 2007 -2009! It is a delightful read, quite saucy and funny. This is no surprise given that among the many jobs Becky held in Dubai, was running a celebrity gossip blog. Not an easy job as one would imagine in a country where words like 'sex, drugs, whores, adultery and nudity' are forbidden. Basically not easy writes Becky 'when anything that makes writing about celebrities vaguely interesting is a big, fat no-no'.
Thankfully her book, written and published outside of Dubai, is far from censored. Dubai, a city that is not only Muslim but has strict rules about sex outside of marriage, unmarried couples living together, public displays of affection and zero tolerance to alcohol, Becky Wicks's book is rife with all those forbidden pleasures. The book is a diary entry of Becky's days and nights in the the city that not only seems to be competing with the world but who seems to continually want to outdo itself. This is a city where everything is bigger, better and shinier than anywhere else on Earth and where billboards and press releases promise outlandish dreams that only Dubai can make true.
Seems too good to be true? well, it's because it is. Dubai is not an easy place to live where everyone seems to be out to make a quick buck. And judging by Becky's account hardly anyone does any work in proportion to the amount of money they're paid and in fact treating their stay as one big holiday. The outcome? The bubble bursts, businesses collapse, and loads of people are thrown in jail due to mounting unpaid debts. However, most of the book focuses on the lifestyle pre-Dubai crash and although the situation is tamer these days it is by no means vanished. Dubai winning the bid to host Expo2020 are proof of that and the size of the New Year celebrations that took place in Jumeirah are yet the biggest proof of all. (Dubai New Year 2014 fireworks have entered the Guinness Book of Records. Click HERE to see the YouTube.
The author, Becky Wicks, is no angel, although she would have us believe otherwise. Becky was a single, 20-something year old out in Dubai at its prime. In the space of only two years, she changes several jobs, becomes mistress to a very wealthy Muslim and married man, and has several 'boyfriends' along the way. In her book she comes across as an immature, irritating, self-centred gold-digger (her relationship with M&M is proof) and a bonafide drama queen. There is sex, there is a city, but Becky Wicks is no Carrie Bradshaw.
So why should you read the book? Because it is fun, un-putdownable, insightful and shallow in equal measure and perfect for when you're detoxing in January!