A review by johannalm
Ade: A Love Story by Rebecca Walker


Adé, Rebecca Walker
A love story in novella form about a biracial half African American half Jewish collage graduate who falls in love with a Swahili man.
The unnamed woman is traveling around Africa with her best friend when she encounters the man of her dreams on a small island off the coast of Kenya and decides to leave the first world behind. The couple’s connection is quick, intense and their love deep, but their affair is cut short when she contracts a terrible case of malaria and must fly back to the US for treatment.
I was not enthralled by this book although the writing is moody and descriptive. The main female character does and doesn’t realize she’s living out her mother’s dream of finding herself in Africa. She’s a collage grad at loose ends, a child of divorces with a parent on each coast, and not sure of who she is or where she fits in. When she meets this Swahili Muslim Adé, who has never been beyond his small island of Lamu, and the one town across the water, she’s besotted by his softness, his kindness, his beauty and his solidness. She ditches her friend who she has promised to travel with all over africa and stays on the small island learning how Adé and his family live. She even allows him to give her a good Muslim name - Farida - so she is more acceptable to his family. The two eventually decide to marry and live a simple life together on his island, forsaking all the amenities of the first world. Her mother seems happy for her, her father quite confused by her choice, and Kenya itself is not a good place for most people during the time she’s there because it’s led by a crazy dictator. Yet, she feels deeply connected to Adé. For him, she is his first and always true love. It is only when she is taken deathly ill and finds herself at a small, ill equipped hospital where nurses share needles among patients, that the young woman finally starts to contemplate what her choice entails. Eventually she must be secretly airlifted out of the country, and that’s when the two are finally separated.
This seems very autobiographical and reads like a memoir. A biracial young woman, post college, trying to find herself and her roots by visiting Africa falls in love and thinks she’s found her home. The author is well thought of and the book was well received when published. I found it sweet and affecting but not a brilliant rendition of a love story. I didn’t like her writing as much as other reviewers.
#NewYearsResolution reading the backlog on my kindle.