by Laila Lalami
Fiction, International Fiction, Morocco
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
13, April 2009
An illegitimate son living in the slums comes to know that the story of his life is a lie, his father wasn’t killed, and his mother is not a widow, but he was shielded from the truth. Set in Morocco, there is a difference in class systems and Laila Lalami captures the heart of this barrier with great depth. Her writing is pretty, practical and always honest, even when it hurts. There is one specific part where the son, Youssef narrates a chapter and in the subsequent chapter his new found wealthy father narrates that same time from his perspective, I loved that!
As in so much of the world, whether seen and spoken or ignored classes exist and the reprocutions of these systems are brought to life in Secret Son. This is a battle of the classes at its best. A son who should have lived the life of absurd luxury that his father is living, dinning on $300 plates of seafood, but because his mother was a maid he lives in the slums and they attempt to make ends meet. Will the wealth of his father entice Youssef to leave the mother who stuck by his side and had to forsake her entire family in order to keep him?
This is a book of relationships, dreams and the desire to make something of oneself, however most importantly it is of family, and the ties and bonds that hold us tight even after years and years of separation.
I enjoyed this read, but not as much as I started out to. Somehow there was a downturn three fourths of the way through, the story seemed to switch gears and become more political, less personal and I was lost in the mix. I did like the book, I just thought when I started out that I was going to love it and that was not the case. However because there are so many aspects of the book that severely intrigued me I do feel it is a good read. I went to Morocco when I was in high school, I am interested in the different class systems around the world, I love reading internationally and I am all about relationships in books and plots that twist around and around. If those are subjects you feel a drawn towards, you should check out Secret Son by Laila Lalami.
Laila Lalami Author Book Event at Powell’s Books:
Laila Lalami, the author of Secret Son was at Powell’s and I was able to get up there with Alyce from At Home With Books to the author event. It was such fun, there were people asking weird questions during the Q&A (and I mean REALLY weird questions, that had nothing to do with the book!) and much more to laugh about. Laila Lalami was so sweet…even after I blurted that I had been to Morocco and didn’t really love it. What is my deal!? I can’t help but let the truth explode from my mouth. AHHH!
Of course, you know me by now, photos are a must!
Laila was so sweet, very personable and just my size! (A big thank you to Alyce for these photos!!!)
Alyce got found some books to take home, she was a blast to hang with. Too fun.
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