Book Review: The View from Garden City by Carolyn Baugh

Author Carolyn Baugh tells the moving story of a young American student living in the Garden City district of Cairo. Having come to study Arabic, she learns far more from the Egyptian women, young and old, she meets within the swirl and tumult of Garden City. Living, loving, and flourishing amid the fierce inflexibility of tradition, these women reveal a fascinating world of arranged marriages, secret romances, and the often turbulent bonds between four generations of Arab mothers and daughters.

Meet the women of Garden City:

Huda, who waited desperately for the man she loved until she could wait no longer
Karima, who found her husband in a collapsing post-war world
Afkar, who paid a dreadful price for her freedom
Selwa, who suffered through the deaths of her children
Yusriyya, who left her native village for a new life in the city
Samira, who loved a man who was not hers

Rich with the sights and sounds of modern Egypt, The View from Garden City lifts the veil of privacy to explore the stunning inner strength of women torn between their dreams for the future and the sacrifices women must make in a world of harsh realities.

This is a read that I was conflicted about from the first couple of pages. The writing style put me off a little bit because it is not what I usually enjoy personally. Some of the actions that take place seemed to me a little bit off putting as well or not what is normal. There is a disclaimer from the author however that does explain that. Now those complaints aside it is a good book overall.

My favorite character I think is Huda. She at times is immature but really she is just a flawed person trying to deal the best she can with what life has given her, what one of us doesn’t do that? The scenes are painted vividly and you can almost hear the noise, smell the traffic and the spices and everything that unfolds before your eyes. This one gets a middle of the ground rating for me, but it was not a total waste of time I think if your someone who could deal with the tense it is written in better then me you will really enjoy it.

My Gemstone Rating:


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