By Farzana Doctor
Ameera is a young Canadian woman working at an all-inclusive Mexican resort. She enjoys her “dream job” and, with an excellent sales record, is waiting to hear about a possible promotion. But her future is suddenly thrown off-track when an anonymous complaint about her is submitted by a disgruntled customer. As she confronts the idea of not getting the promotion and possibly even losing her job over the complaint, Ameera is forced into an anxious examination of possible past offences.
Delving into her recent history, we learn more about Ameera’s lifestyle. A picture emerges of a young woman who is experimenting in many avenues of her life, trying to discover who she is and what makes her happy. This exploration includes her own sexuality and it seems that Ameera might be on a path that would not be approved by her superiors and perhaps even her friends. She struggles to balance professionalism and “normal” behaviour, with being honest and true to herself.
Another important element of her life that she would like to explore is her heritage. Ameera longs to know more about her father, Azeez, who disappeared the day after Ameera was conceived. Despite her ties to her mother, Ameera is haunted by the lack of a father. She feels somewhat lost and abandoned, and has so many questions: Why did he disappear? Where is he? Does she resemble him? Did she inherit any traits from him? Eventually she is driven to undertake a serious search for him in hopes of finding some answers and perhaps a sense of belonging. At the same time, Azeez is also on a quest to find his daughter and this parallel search adds an intriguing element to the story. Azeez is a charming character with an unusual history and I found his story quite appealing.
I was completely drawn in to this story. Ameera’s attempt to come to terms with what is important to her and what is necessary for her to be content, is a journey that anyone can relate to. Her frustrations with her work, her curiosity about her father, and her sexual experimentation all seem very real and believable. Other serious elements that are touched on, such as racism, and exploitation of the workers, particularly the ones native to the country, are important but not the focus. Rather, they serve to add another layer of realism to the narrative and anchor Ameera’s story to a solid foundation.
Altogether, an absorbing read. Farzana Doctor has used humour, heartache, joy and eroticism, to produce a compelling story of self-discovery with characters that we cheer on as they struggle towards a satisfactory conclusion.
Thank you to Dundurn Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour! Image courtesy of the publisher.