The Cult of Romance — A Review
Review by Saffiyya Mohammed
The Cult of Romance is so much more than swearing off love like the main character has vowed to do. This is a book about friendship, coming into your own self as an adult, finding who you are when you're a diaspora kid, and love.
Off to a bit of a slow start, with the main character Nat being thrown in a loop when her best friend suddenly announces her engagement and wedding with only a few short months to spare, in their homeland of Lebanon. Nat, who considers her best friend a lot like family, goes through all the emotions as she sees herself no longer relevant to her best friend's Janet's life.
The characters are in their late teens, 19, and early 20's, but that doesn't take away from the complexities they have, which is something I really appreciated. I enjoyed reading how both Nat and Janet worked through their issues and hang ups with this big life change to create a new space for their friendship.
With the main characters being diaspora kids, having Lebanese roots but bred in Australia, how each of them navigate being
"back home" takes the reader through the layers of what it means to be a diaspora kid, not really fitting in anywhere, but truly crafting an identity of your own with the things that matter most to you.
From generational clashes between Nat and her grandmother who never see eye to eye, to the patriarchy, to motherhood and what it means to acknowledge family hurt, heal, grow and forgive, I found myself rooting for Nat throughout her story, and if you love a slow romance you'll appreciate her love story, too. Plus the epilogue ties up all the loose ends of the story, so you can see that bright future Nat has in store for her.
I don't have any questions for the author but I would like to commend her on such a engaging read. The Cult of Romance is the second Aussie book by an author whose novel I've read features diaspora kids with such realness, from frustration to indecisiveness, I felt like I was right there with them, cheering them on.
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Our Usual Book Club Questions Are:
1. What did you like most?
2. What gave you pause?
3. What didn't you like?
4. What are your other thoughts?
5. What question (s) do you have for the author(s)?
6. What questions about the book(s) do you have for the moderator or other members of the discussion(s)?
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Until next time, subhanaka Allahumma wa-bihamdika ash-hadu anla ilaha illa anta as-taghfiruka wa atoobu ilayka. (O Allah, You are free from every imperfection; praise be to You. I testify that there is no true god except You; I ask Your Pardon and turn to You in repentance.) Aameen.
The Fofky's Book Club Team