Main character, Zara, is a complicated woman of Lebanese descent. The book opens up when she was 8 years old with a very realistic scene showing the terror she, her mom, and older siblings had to go through while they were young. Their dad was a drunk, abusive man, who took his anger out on Zara’s mother but only when he was drunk which was almost all the time. The first chapter pulls you in with the fear that young Zara and her mom feel as they run to hide in a barn from the drunken man who is threatening to kill them.
When Zara’s dad dies in a drunken brawl she and her mom leave Lebanon and move to America where her older married brother was living. Her two older sisters remained in Lebanon at that time because they had their own families.
Without a father, Zara takes on the responsibility of the man of the house. She takes care of her mother and does her best to earn enough money to keep them both in a reasonable living condition. But all throughout her adult life Zara is plagued with a dream of the time when her father went after Zara and her mom as they hid from him in the barn.
During the course of the novel we see how Zara tries to come to grips with how her dad acted and how it relates to her relationship with men.
Zara married at a very age and within a year she was divorced. Trying to get over her doomed marriage and the nightmares about her father, Zara continued to work hard to maintain being a famous Lebanese singer within the Lebanese American community. When she left the entertainment world she worked equally as hard to start her own successful business. She struggled to become her own woman and to eventually come to terms with her father’s behavior.
“Nothing Is Predictable” by Adalina Mae is a unique type of book. I don’t know for sure but I suspect there are some autobiographical accounts here. The writing seems very real to me, so much so that it has me believing that Ms. Mae went through similar tragedies that her character, Zara, had experienced.
Each chapter is almost like a vignette. There are no long spiels about Zara’s life. Instead readers are told briefly, but with enough description, to let us know what’s going on and I appreciated that. I like a good story that doesn’t slow me down by rehashing something that was said two chapters earlier and filled with flowery language. Hey, that’s just me. But on that note I do have to say that I loved all the countries that Zara visited and the short but thorough descriptions that the author gave. I kind of would like to visit Lebanon now because Ms. Mae makes it sound so beautiful and yet still dangerous.
As for Zara, I’m not sure if I like her. I admire her for taking care of her mother and making sure she was always safe but I feel like Zara didn’t care for herself. She jumps from man to man seeming to fall “in love” at the first sight of some hunky male. Maybe 20 and 30 year old’s are like that, I don’t know. I might have been the same way in my younger days, I don’t remember but it bothered me that Zara was like this. She’s a smart woman who could take care of her mom, her business, her singing career, become successful, and yet let herself become spineless at the sight of a man. The only time you saw the real Zara come out was when the man hurt her and only then did she’d become the bulldog she was in her business life. There were times I wanted to shake this young woman and scream, “Open your eyes!”
I will say that some of the problems that Zara encountered with the men were of a religious aspect. Her family did not want Zara to date pr marry anyone who wasn’t Christian. Zara didn’t see a problem being with someone of another faith but her family interfered on many occasions with Zara’s love life because of their beliefs. Religion does have a big part of the story and pushes the tale forward.
Saying that I’m not sure if I like the main character or not doesn’t really mean much except for the fact the author did a wonderful job in creating such a complicated, smart, yet weak woman. Many authors create their protagonists into the perfect specimen of the human race: beautiful, witty, fun, successful, and everyone adores them. But no one is really like that. To me it’s a sign of a great author who can create a main character who can do great things but is far from perfect. That’s Zara. It’s okay that I’m not sure how likable she is because she makes me think and not resent her because she’s perfect.
Would I read another book about Zara? Heck yes. I’d like to travel with her some more. I’d like to see what she’s done with her life. I‘d like to learn how her family’s doing.
“Nothing Is Predictable” is one good book. I breezed through it in a little over a day. The hard part was getting my thoughts together to write this review. It took me longer to write about it than to read it.
Author Adalina Mae is a fine author who weaves a good tale, be it fictional or a bit autobiographical. It never hurts to try a new a writer. You just might discover a gem, like I did, in Ms. Mae.