My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 2 days
Pages - 288
Publisher - The Borough Press
Source - Review Copy
Blurb from Goodreads
THE PACT WE MADE tells the story of Dahlia who is staring down the barrel of her thirtieth birthday, the age when a Kuwaiti woman from a good family is past
her prime marrying years. Dahlia straddles two worlds: one in which she’s a modern woman living in a modern city, and another where she can’t have male friends, or leave the country without her father’s consent.
With shades of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, and woven through with reflections on Ariel’s story from The Tempest, THE PACT WE MADE explores ideas of freedom and the duality of being a woman in Kuwait.
Dahlia is our main character a Kuwaiti woman rapidly approaching her thirtieth birthday, from a good family with strong values and tradiitons the pressure is on Dahlia to marry. Her mother arranges constant "dates" and meetings with suitable males and their families to try and finally find a match for her daughter. As the years pass the less suitable and appealing they seem to Dahlia. She just wants to be free, do her own thing and has zero interest in getting married.
This is a bit of a genteel paced book, we flip between present day and hints of Dahlia's past or actually going back to the past. Something happened that changed Dahlia forever and whilst she has strong values and a sense to do right by her family she also just wants to be happy.
I think we take so much for granted these days, where I come from you are free in pretty much all of your life choices. We know in some countries arranged marriages are still very much a thing and these girls/women have very controlled lives. Dahlia is a bit different, she has friends, a job, she wears make up, she has nights out and had dabbled with some drugs. She has a bit more freedom than some ladies that comes from families that have expectations of planned/arranged marriages.
It makes for a really interesting read as many of us do take our freedom of choice as a given. Very well written, I was drawn into Dahlia's life and the struggles she faced, the judgements both her own and those thrown her way. Friendship, family, overcoming past trauma, there are also passages dealing with self harm and abuse although not covered in huge detail there is enough to give you a more intimate insight into Dahlia as a person. Not normally a book I would pick up but I am so glad I was sent a copy of this. I will be looking out for what this author does next, 4/5 for me this time.
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