Thanks to At Home With Abby for the reveiw
Biographies are the readers version of reality TV. They usually entail twists turns, human interest, human depravity or flaws, and all the juicy things we enjoy watching only many times (unless they are biographies of a celebrity) we get the added ability to exercise our minds recognition of proper grammar and the potential to learn something. The added ability to learn something is probably why I prefer a good book over a reality TV show, gameshows and sitcoms are another story for me. What does this have to do with Anatolian Days and Nights, well I prefered this book over not only the reality shows but some of my normal sitcoms as well. It wasn't full of smut either, but had an amazing balance of human story with history, culture, and language exploration. It all starts with the thoughts and experiences of two woman and becomes a lovestory that I didn't see coming.
I originally agreed to review this book because I (if I'm honest) thought the cover looked cool. Yes, we can all be drawn in by external appearance and I was with the sunset like colors and romantic feeling the cover displayed. Now, I have read some books with horrible covers that are amazing and leave you thinking what happened with the cover. Then, there are the books with amazing covers that should just have been admired for the great cover and never open. For this reason, I truly didn't allow my enjoyment of the cover to cloud my potential dislike of the content.
I honestly started reading and had the thoughts that it was going to be two womans trip together and either very full of smut, which I hate, or very boring with nothing but pretensious cultural facts tossed at you as the woman try to expose us to the Turkish culture and sub-consciously stroke their own ego at how culturally open they are in comparison to the rest of us. I was very wrong. My first impression was proven wrong in chapter 2 and continued through the book. I still was exposed to the historical facts for the area, the cultural details, and language exploration that a good biography entails, however the womans emotions and experiences brought a flow to it all that make it for a great read.
You get the dynamics of two different lifestyles still allowing for a unifying bond to form with the woman over a simple love of travel and specifically of Turkey. While my personal feelings towards how to lead ones life differs in many ways, they tell their story in a way not to challenge other peoples opinions, but to simple tell their story. It isn't an excuse or justification filled bio where we get the feeling we should feel a choice or decision they made is the one to have, but just a this is what happened, how if made me feel, and here's to hoping this knowledge takes you somewhere feeling. I greatly appreciated that since often people, including me at times, write as though their choices and opinions are supreme.
One of my favorite parts of this story is told by Joy. She explains her decision to make the trip to Turkey and the turmoil and split feelings she had over taking this particular trip. It was wrote in a way that I, as a mother, could fully relate to and understand just how hard of a decision it was for her to make. Her daughters words, as she recalls in the bio, are remembered by me because it seemed that they were where her turning point was for whether or not to make the trip. I really appreciated that part being added as it made the story even more relate-able to me.
Another thing that I really enjoyed was their exposure of the male vs female culture in Turkey. The dynamics of it go past the simple men do as they please and woman rule the nest. They do talk of that aspect, but also the almost mystical power some of the woman have over the men driving or controlling them to adhere to guidelines which best suite the couple. They also talk of the flip side where the control is solely around the man or first born son. They give different insights into how the woman deal or in one particular case they describe how some woman try to escape. They also offer an insight that for some woman they wouldn't change the roles, even if I'm not sure they realized they showed that, I can think of one particular woman who kept to herself as she was expected and while she seemed to want for a womanly conversation with the authors she also seemed very content bustling about the kitchen.
They also speak of the appreciation for food and drink which almost seems to hinder on a love affair each man and some of the woman have that at times makes me wonder if it has bewitched a few away from their relationships. Their are times when food is discussed to such a level between the locals you would assume, if you had no insight to the language, they were discussing a spouse/child/job and potentially crossing boundaries that shouldn't be crossed in the discussion. It's interesting how a love of something that is merely a requirement for life can create such an ingrained cultural identity in a person where the passion they discuss it with is at times more emotional than a discussion of a human love story.
What keeps you reading to the end of this book is the expectation of closure with the "friend" of theirs who started their journey together and the desire to hear them describe the Whirling Dervishes. We all have heard about them, but reading about them in a bio is like getting an inside look at their custom beamed into your head and that is too delishes for any intellectual to refuse. The human dirt side of us want resolution to the "friends" story which keeps us reading as well. I will tell you that one of these two desires gets full-filled but you will have to read it to find out which one it is!
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