Arab family drama

That Other Me - Maha Gargash

Majed is the head of an Emirati family. He’s quite an unlikeable, angry fellow, full of himself and his power over others.  Dalal is the daughter of his second secret marriage and has been abandoned by her father.  Her dream is to become a famous singer, which is completely against her father’s wishes.  Even though her father has abandoned her, he holds control over her as he attempts to stop what he feels will bring shame and embarrassment to the family.  Mariam is Majed’s niece, the daughter of Majed’s dead brother.  Majed sends Mariam to dental school, mostly due to guilt because of his cheating his brother out of his business.  Both of these young women are greatly restricted in their efforts to lead their own lives by Majed and the Emirati society.

 

Mariam lives at a university in Cairo, while Dalal lives in the poor section of Cairo so you get a look at the two types of worlds. While it’s obvious why Majed would be an unlikeable character, I couldn’t like Dalal either.  She seemed so immature and only cares about becoming a star.  I found Dalal and her mother to be quite annoying.  Mariam is much easier to like as she struggles to become a dentist, feeling that was the only way she could escape her rigid family and the Emirati society.

 

This book has been compared to “The Kite Runner” but I didn’t think it had any of the emotional pull of “The Kite Runner”. It was basically a family drama made a bit different by its setting in an Arab culture.

 

This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.