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Book description
I really dont like giving books bad reviews, mostly because I usually try to chose ones that I think Ill like and wont be a waste of time, and I especially hate having to give bad reviews to a book I win on Goodreads, but despite sounding good in the synopsis there really wasn’t anything I liked about this book.In a nutshell, this is the story of Lula, a twenty-six-year-old immigrant from Albania working as a caregiver in New Jersey for a Wall Street executive whose wife developed a mental illness and deserted the family within the last year or so. Since Zeke, the son that Lula is watching, is a senior in high school, she’s basically there to make sure he eats his vegetables, even though she mostly just feeds him frozen food, and doesn’t burn down the house since his father, Mister Stanley, as Lula calls him, works very long hours in Manhattan. Lula, therefore, has a lot of free time.Very early on we find out that Lula has been visited by three young Albanian guys who call her little sister (all Albanians are related, they say) and ask her to hide a gun for them. The story follows Lula as she tries to get a green card; find Dunia, her missing friend from Albania with whom she came to America; find a new job after Zeke graduates and goes to college; and deal with the three Albanian guys who continue to visit Lula out of the blue, among other things.I understand that there are differences between Americans and people from other countries and that anyone who has lived through a war or poverty and their aftermaths will have a different view of the world and what they need to do to survive. While I’ve read reviews that describe this book as being caustically funny, charming and exuberantly optimistic, I just didn’t see it. The main character makes mojitos (yes, watered down, but still, alcoholic) for a seventeen-year-old, tells us that she sounds British because her teacher was British but that she was also tutored by an Australian and that she paid for those lessons with blow jobs, lies to her boss and the lawyer who fights for her to get her green card as well as just about anyone else she talks to.She immediately, and I mean before he even gets to the door, becomes infatuated with one of the Albanians, Alvo, and fantasizes about being with him all through the book, even after she finds out what type of person he really is, which, truthfully, she has to have known all along. Also, longish hair, a mustache and a gold tooth. What’s not to like?!The stuff that happens in this book just seems so unrealistic and, often, random. You let three shady men you’ve never met before into your boss’ house and agree to hide a gun for them just because they’re the same nationality? I’m sure that wouldn’t hurt your chance to become and American citizen at all! And how did they even find her? Her “love” for Alvo was also ridiculous. People complain about characters falling in love in YA novels and chick-lit too quickly but this makes the lead-up to all of those romances look like a marathon. And I’m not even going to go into what was going on with Dunia or what happens with Ginger, Stanley’s wife. I suppose the ending was meant to be the start of what could potentially be a happily ever after, and was, again, unrealistic, but to be honest I don’t think she deserved it. I know this is a work of fiction, but in real life there are so many good and honest people who come to America and work hard to become citizens and establish a life for themselves that her apparent lack of a moral compass was a complete turn-off.By the last forty pages I was just skimming the paragraphs because I just didn’t want to have to read every word anymore. If any character in this book had been even remotely likeable and not completely depressing, I might’ve had a different view of the book but, unfortunately that was not the case.
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