Book Reviews

Book Review: Espresso|اسبريسو by Abdullah Al Nuaimi

15759099

Synopsis:

Waleed is a man approaching his 40s and basically you go through a small part of his life.

Review:

This book was recommended to me by a friend and since I am starting to get into Arabic books, I didn’t say no to reading it. It literally took me an hour to finish it because the font was huge (18 or 16 I guess) and it was only 200 pages.

My problem isn’t with the font or the number of pages; my problem was with the content of the book.

The opening scene of the book was a man approaching his 40s and he found this small cafe with a European style. Not the best description, it was kind of a cliche. So, this man sits in the cafe and he is being approached by an Arab waitress who acts flirty and adorable and she suggest that he tries the espresso and he did and he instantly fell in love with her! Which was really fast. There was no development for there love of whatsoever. He didn’t know anything about her, except that she looks like Penelope Cruz! And I guess that’s enough to make him fall in love.

The Entire story was really fast paced and it’s because the book is extremely short and with a smaller font, it could’ve been 80 or 60 pages, and I guess the smallness of the book didn’t allow the story to develop and expand, but that not an excuse because there are 20 pages children books with a deeper story.

Now let’s talk about our main character Waleed. So far, this is the worst character I read in my life! The man is approaching his 40s but I swear he act like a 16 year old. He is so childish and so selfish and shallow, he had no depth at all even though he was trying to act deep and macho, and that frustrated me!

He lives in a boxed society of his own because not only has he fallen in love with his 1st love interest within the span of 2 days, he was incredibly indecisive. At one point he loves her, then he does not, he hates her, then misses her, he wants her, oh no wait he does not anymore. We were not allowed the emotional connection with the characters because the lead himself didn’t have an emotional connection to them, we were never sure how the lead felt about anything and anyone.

There was this scene, when the third time he went to the cafe, the waitress wasn’t there and when he asked about her, they told him that the espresso machine broke down and the owner is blaming her and so she have to pay 9000 dirhams. Waleed instantly offered to pay the money! Okay… I don’t mind doing good deeds for people but he had motives and he kept denying them, but basically he was in love with her. Then when she asked to a date to repay his favor, he was like, no, it might be okay in your culture but it’s not in mine. What would people say! Well, that kind of behavior isn’t limited to her “culture” so yeah I hated the negative representation.

And then he officially confessed to her and they had a relationship that lasted about 7 pages before they break up, and when they did, he fell physically and mentally because he was heart broken, and when he told his best friend, the first thing he told him was, maybe she did black magic on you! TYPICAL.

All the supporting characters were only presented through the leads POV and the lead was very emotional and selfish in all his views on these characters. Whenever he was pleased with them he would talk about them positively and not ‘doubt their intentions’, but then he start imagining stuff and making up ‘faults and flaws’ that do not exist because we were not shown any of this at all, he immediately changes his mind about them. 

In my opinion, women were negatively represented. In both situations the women have approached him, he never flirted or asked to be in any relationship with these girls. He was always presented as being the noble one who wanted to approach all his relationships with these woman with boundaries and respect yet these girls cross the boundaries of society for him.

Let’s talk about the representations in the book. In the back of the book, the author said that this book isn’t specific to any society, oh but it is. Yes, you didn’t mention the names of the places, but as a reader who lives here, I can tell what kind of two cultures you were talking about, and honestly both of them were so negative and I didn’t like that.

The ending was the worst part about the book!

The book is so underdeveloped and it was a waste of one good hour honestly. This is the kind of Arabic novels I want to stay away from because they add nothing to my experience and knowledge as a reader.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

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