“NOTHING IS PREDICTABLE,” BY ADALINA MAE
PUBLICATION: SEPTEMBER 1, 2016
Synopsis: Zara is a vibrant, funny, resilient American-born woman struggling with a traumatic past. When Zara is eight years old, her father, in a drunken rampage, accidentally shoots himself dead, leaving her to battle through her life.
Zara’s long exhausting journey dealing with her childhood memories leaves her struggling with romance and hinders her from developing healthy relationships.
Who is the love of her life? Is it her Swiss God? Will she be able to find peace and happiness?
Readers will relate to the journey that Adalina Mae takes us on, which is interspersed with heartbreaking moments as well as hilarious escapades. This is life and nothing is predictable.
The story will keep you on your toes and offers mysteries to solve: Why does Zara have recurrent nightmares of her last night with her father? Who does Zara end up with? Does she eventually find love?
I started reading “Nothing is Predictable” this morning, but wanted to mull it all over before writing a review. Adalina Mae’s story of Zara and her life experiences is incredible. It’s often sad, sometimes funny, sometimes frustrating, and sometimes confusing. But overall, this is a very moving novel about an incredibly strong woman.
The novel’s setting changes often but is primarily set in Lebanon or Los Angeles. Zara’s family is from Lebanon, she was born in the United States, but her family returns to Lebanon for several years to live, and so on. Very early in Zara’s childhood, she endures abuse, observes the violence of her alcoholic father, observes her mother being abused, and then is faced with the death of her father. This is not a happy-go-lucky idyllic childhood, but one where you stop and wonder several times how she survived. As she grows up, Zara is successful in school and does her best to help her mother while attending college. Zara has the good fortune of being very talented, therefore, an early start in a singing career allows her and her mother financial comfort despite her father having died and leaving them nothing. She became incredibly successful singing and performing, but also became a very successful business owner early in her adult years. Although impressive, I felt that the reader wasn’t provided as much detail regarding her education and businesses regarding the ins and outs of what she did, why she was so financially successful and so on. Especially the question of how in the world did this young woman run a business and have so much time for vacation and traveling around the world?
Several men make appearances as romantic interests including Sebastian, Jamal, Tariq, Livio, and Leandro. A recurring issue is Zara’s interests in Muslim men rather than Christians, which was an enormous issue for both families. Another recurring theme was Zara meeting and falling for dishonest men that deceived her and her family in many ways. Unfortunately, Zara repeatedly was drawn to bad guys, but I also noticed that even when things were still good within these relationships Zara frequently had an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude or she experience feelings of unrest where she just wasn’t feeling connected to the men but wasn’t sure why.
Zara’s mother, siblings and several nieces and nephews remained a constant positive in her life despite any other hardships, however, throughout her early adulthood she experienced nightmares about her father, anger regarding his alcoholism and an overall lack of peace about her father’s life and untimely death. One of my favorite parts is her trip back to the church and cemetery after spending time meditating and discussing her past with a Buddhist Monk. My heart broke for her as she spoke to the wall of her father’s crypt and as she allowed herself to feel emotions that she had suppressed since childhood.
I was impressed by the powerful yet realistic themes in “Nothing is Predictable,” especially the importance and healing properties of forgiveness. I also applauded and respected Zara’s realization that perhaps she isn’t meant to be married and have some epic love story, but instead that she is most successful when enriching her own life with her own successes and experiences. But most importantly was the message of overcoming hardships and being successful and happy. Zara demonstrated that abuse and trauma during childhood do not have to strangle your entire existence. This novel tells the story of a woman that may not have always been lucky in love and relationships, but was determined to build a successful and fulfilling life that was free of fear or regrets.
One complaint or struggle that I had while reading was the writing style. Something about it felt choppy at times and almost too straightforward. The dialogue, both inner and outer, was frequently very simple and direct rather than inspiring the reader to reflect on the situations and consider various conclusions or realities. Otherwise, this was a fantastic story well worth reading. Reading “Nothing is Predictable” absolutely inspires optimism and positive thoughts, reminding the reader that they are strong and can overcome life’s challenges.
*Many thanks to the author for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.