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The Ruins of Us

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  • Posted March 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting Book

    The Ruins of Us by Keija Parssi­nen is a fic­tional book set in Saudi Ara­bia. The book is a char­ac­ter study of mar­riage in the midst of a cul­ture clash.

    Amer­i­can born Ros­alie grew up in an army base in Saudi Ara­bia. In col­lege Ros­alie met and fell in love with Abdul­lah Bayla who mar­ried her and they decided to raise a fam­ily in Saudi Arabia.

    Ros­alie dis­cov­ers that Abdul­lah has taken a sec­ond wife. While Abdul­lah and Ros­alie are involved in their own per­sonal mass, they don’t pay atten­tion to their six­teen year old son, Faisal, who is becom­ing more and more extreme.

    The Ruins of Us by Keija Parssi­nen starts off slow but picks up towards the end. The pro­tag­o­nist, Ros­alie, finds out that her lov­ing hus­band has hid­den a sec­ond wife from her, but Ros­alie is a Texas girl.

    The inter­est­ing part, for me, is the descrip­tions of a part of the world which, unfor­tu­nately, I will most likely never get to visit and that of a for­eign cul­ture. The descrip­tions of the beau­ti­ful and not-so-beautiful parts of Saudi Ara­bia were won­der­fully writ­ten and the cul­tural issues expa­tri­ates have to deal with were fas­ci­nat­ing.

    The char­ac­ters were engag­ing and some even like­able, but I felt that the story could have used a bit more empha­sis on the cul­tural impli­ca­tions and accep­tance of polygamy. I would have liked to read more about the rela­tion­ship between the two women and about the sec­ond wife, her thoughts and feel­ings and cul­tural accep­tance.

    One of the things that really struck home is Rosalie’s rose col­ored view of her child­hood world. Ros­alie grew up in Saudi Ara­bia as a child and then her par­ents moved back to the US. Remem­ber­ing her child­hood Ros­alie wanted to go back and live in Saudi Ara­bia and has done so with all the good and bad it entails. I know that I still feel a long­ing to my child­hood birth place, how­ever when I go there it’s not the same and I know that it will never be.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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