Received: Received a copy from Dundurn Press in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: October 3, 2015
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Whether it’s about work and play or life and death, sometimes there’s no avoiding bumpy encounters.
What’s it like when everyone’s dream vacation is your job? Ameera works at a Mexican all-inclusive resort, where every day is paradise — if “paradise” means endless paperwork, quotas to meet, and entitled tourists to deal with. But it’s not all bad: Ameera’s pastime of choice is the swingers’ scene, and the resort is the perfect place to hook up with like-minded couples without all the hassle of ever having to see them again.
Despite Ameera’s best efforts to keep her sideline a secret, someone is spreading scandalous rumours about her around the resort, and her job might be at stake. Meanwhile, she’s being plagued by her other secret, the big unknown of her existence: the identity of her father and the reason he abandoned her. Unbeknownst to Ameera, her father, Azeez, is looking for her. The fact that he’s dead is just a minor detail.
A moving new work from award-winning author Farzana Doctor, All Inclusive blurs the lines between the real world and paradise, and life and the afterlife, that shows how love can conquer any obstacle.
I am definitely happy I got the chance to be a part of this blog tour, Farzana Doctor is becoming a huge name in Canadian publishing and I've been so intrigued by her work. This story was definitely a ride for me, Farzana takes you to many places around the world as we get to know two different characters, Azeez and Ameera, these two have never met but are tied together in such a strong way. This story definitely gives readers a lot to think about and takes diversity to a new level, but also this gives readers a tiny look into the blurred lines of life and death.
Ameera has gotten a dream job, she works as a tour guide at an all inclusive resort in Mexico, but she has her own secret life after hours. Ameera becomes part of the swingers scene, and it works perfectly for her, she hooks up with people and then they leave never to be seen again, but when push comes to shove nothing is always perfect and soon Ameera finds that her secret life may not be so secret. I wasn't sure how I felt about Ameera at first, but she seemed to grow on me after awhile. You can see that Ameera does work hard and as much as she blurs her lines at her job, she tries to keep them as separate as possible. When things start taking a turn for the worst, Ameera begins to think about her father and wondering what her life would be like if he ever knew him and her family. Little does she know that somewhere else, someone is searching for her before they can move on as well.
There is a back and forth between Ameera's life and Azeez's (both past and present), and we learn more about how family really can make a difference in life sometimes. Ameera begins to feel lost and finding out about the other side of her family may help her find herself and she can begin to start her life for real. What Farzana does really well is bringing the secondary characters to light that they almost overtake the primary characters. Farzana shows that sometimes it is harder for locals to be seen over those that come almost for fun.
Azeez has been around for years trying to figure out how to move on with his life, he knows he is missing something but has trouble finding out what exactly that is. As he watches his family grow he learns more about them and takes care of them over the years, until it comes that there is family that needs his help, and he travels around trying to find Ameera and help her find out what happened to him and why she never knew him. I don't have much to say on Azeez's character because his story is short, but you can see that he is focused on finding Ameera and helping her connect with another part of herself.
I did enjoy how Farzana wrote her characters and this story of really learning to find yourself away from everything else. She also really brings the history of her characters and their beliefs into the story. Honestly, many things about this book were great, I do wish that it was a little more in-depth and that there was maybe a little more about Ameera and her mom's relationship.
The one thing that I felt was a little over-the-top at times was Ameera's sex life, I felt that it took over her chapters a bit too much at times instead of showing more of her work relationships as she tries to figure out where these rumours are coming from. Though I did enjoy Ameera's strength to fight back against these rumours and keep herself safe and settled in her job.