*Win a copy of Cutting Loose by clicking here. Entry deadline is Monday, 6/8/09–international friends welcome!*
Title: Cutting Loose
Author: Nadine Dajani
Genre/Pages: Fiction; 384
Publication: Forge Books; September 2008
Rating: 3.5 BOOKMARKS
Take a peek into the lives of three diverse women and see how their culture and life choices have brought them together.
Told from multiple points of view, Cutting Loose weaves the lives of three women into an entertaining novel with solid characters and plenty of conflict. Offering more than just the standard ‘chick-lit’ fare, Nadine Dajani draws on her own her own exotic life experiences to create characters who struggle to reconcile their culture with life in sultry, hedonistic Miami.
Ranya, Zahra, and Rio each arrive in Miami with baggage from their other lives. Ranya escapes Montreal and her sham of a marriage, Zahra leaves Boston and a career-ending disaster which was precipitated by a one night stand with an unrequited love, and Rio runs from the slums of Honduras and manages to climb her way to the top of a niche magazine.
From the cover, I figured the book would follow a predictable path and that the women would become fast friends despite their differences. How wrong I was! Each character grapples with her own internal and external conflicts but the friendships I predicted never materialized. Instead, mutual respect and camaraderie developed.
Ranya struggles with the deeply ingrained rules of her Muslim upbringing, while Zahra buries her emotions and feelings for her boss in work and comfort food, and Rio tries hard to stay emotionally unattached in a 5-year ‘fling’ with her boss’s younger brother.
Religion, relationships, and personal growth are strong themes throughout the novel. The three women try to supress parts of themselves but ultimately realize that in order to find true love and personal happiness they have to embrace their whole selves. They are dynamic characters who change and develop with every experience.
Overall, this book was an entertaining and interesting read–perfect to get me in the mood for summer! I enjoyed the multicultural angle, characters, and Miami backdrop.
Thank you to Nadine Dajani for the review and giveaway copies of this novel.