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Book Review: No More Mulberries by Mary Smith

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No More MulberriesNo More Mulberries by Mary Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

No More Mulberries is an international contemporary drama written by Mary Smith and published in 2009. The story focuses on Miriam, a Scottish midwife, who has married two men from Afghanistan during her lifetime. The tale unfolds by jumping time frames across different chapters to share the reasons why Miriam’s life has become what it is today. At times, her days have been heartbreaking, and at others, they have been an admirable source of strength. I chose this book because I’d seen many positive reviews and it fit the parameters for my month of international and/or autobiographical reads. Let’s chat more about this complex and wonderful story…

Miriam had a wonderful husband and life, but he passed away. She had a young son to raise in Afghanistan during a difficult period in the country’s history, especially for a red-haired Scottish woman with strong beliefs about how things should be. Knowledgeable in medicine, she won over some of the village, yet she always knew she was viewed differently. Then, she remarried and had another child with the second husband. At first, they had a strong love. Although she’d converted to Muslim, her husband, Iqbal was careful to find a balance between his beliefs and her beliefs. While he could be strict, he was by no means radical or excessively controlling of his wife. As tension rises between them, Miriam revisits her past to understand why her first husband died. Through the process, her eyes are opened about her own blame in the new marriage as well as as what truly happened to her first beloved.

The story is rich with a supporting cast who provide laughter, love, fear, and pain. Smith eloquently shares a culture and a lifestyle with her audience, some who may know little about the Muslim faith or Afghani culture. While I’ve read a few other books focusing on this part of the world, they tended to stick to the religious aspects of the Middle East rather than the social aspects. I was glad to experience a different side of the life through this story and the author’s wonderful ability to showcase both the good and the bad.

Questions of parenting, forgiveness, pain, tolerance, and curiosity quickly enter a reader’s mind. What will become of someone who defies her husband? Who will stand by you when you have no one else to trust? How do you ensure the village listens to your advice on bearing a child when the culture dictates the complete opposite solution? This novel helped me understand a different mindset, and while it wasn’t necessarily one I agree with or support, I found a balance of alternative ideas and options to push me to think more critically. It’s a great experience, and one we should all have when reading a book about something different than our own knowledge.

A great find, and something that would be a benefit for all readers with an open mind, a curiosity about life outside their own culture, and a small glimpse into the world that many know from the outside but little know from the inside.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are four books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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365 Challenge: Day 119 – Fort Myers, Florida

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Fort Myers, Florida: a gateway to the southwest Florida region and the city of my birth

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Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, organized by groups of five (5). In the first set of five, we explored my primary ethnicity groups and nationalities. In the second set of five, we had the AtoZ Challenges for various favorite things in our lives. In the third set of five, we discovered all the colors (excluding black and white) that have an important meaning to me. And so… I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me. This is our fourth grouping, covering weeks #16 thru #20 of the 365 Daily Challenge, and the topics will be: the 5 Places I’ve lived!

Last week was the city I currently live in (NYC), and so it makes sense that this week would be all about the city where I first lived — where I was born: Fort Myers, Florida. But before we get into those details, a few interesting facts about this lovely place:

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  • Fort Myers was one of the first forts built on the Caloosahatchee River to protect the European-American settlers against the Native Americans during the American Indian Wars in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
  • It was founded as a community at the end of the Civil War in 1866 and was formally incorporated as a city in 1885.
  • It is most famously known as one of the places where Thomas Alva Edison and Henry Ford lived for many winters, escaping the cold snow in the north.
  • For more information, you can check Wikipedia.

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So how does a guy like me get from Fort Myers, Florida to NYC… let’s roll back the clock to a few generations before I was actually born. My paternal grandparents were born and raised in NYC, as were many of their ancestors before them. They moved from NYC to Long Island, New York when my father was 13-years old and resided there until about 1970. All three of their kids were done with high school and moving on with their own lives and into their own homes. My grandparents wanted to live in a warmer temperature and visited some friends in Florida. While down there, they were driving around and found a beautiful piece of property in Fort Myers and a potential new business to own. Next thing… they moved to Florida and opened a bar in the early 1970s.

Shortly afterwards, my father and mother met and got married. They visited my grandparents after their honeymoon in the Bahamas, deciding they too loved Florida. They bought a piece of property on a canal and planned to have a house built in the future. Given some things going on in NY with my mom’s side of the family, my parents decided to move to Fort Myers sooner than they’d originally planned, found out that my mom was pregnant with me and committed to the change. They lived with my grandparents in their Florida home for a while and then right about the time their new house was built, I was born. {Aside: Silent pause for a riveting round of applause}

I have very few memories of my time in Florida, as I only lived there for about two years. What I do remember are two key things, both of which involve the canal that ran through our backyard. First, we always had a family of ducks who would swim in the water and nest in the yard. I have pictures of me following a family of ducks around, barely a year old, walking all over the place with them. I’m surprised the ducks didn’t bite me, but animals have always been drawn to me. The picture is not scanned, and I don’t have a scanner, so I can’t add it here. But you can imagine it! Or look at a similar one I found.

Second, we also had several alligators that would swim up and crawl out of the canal in the backyard. My father had a German Shepard dog, Lady, who I spent every waking moment with while I was very young. Lady would protect me from anyone and everyone, curling up under my crib, sitting next to me on the couch.  Well… she was not letting any alligator get near me. Luckily, they were smaller alligators and Lady could keep them at bay. But we also have a few pictures of Lady chasing alligators, me standing a few feet away from them, and my dad laughing about the whole thing. He knew Lady would protect me, so they weren’t too worried. And she seemed to enjoy her playtime with the gatas, as I would call them. Oh… the things you do as a child. Nowadays, I wouldn’t step foot near one of those suckers! Well, maybe I’d ride one for fun.

By the time I was two-years old, we left Florida and moved back to Long Island, as my maternal grandmother passed away. My mom had younger siblings to take care of, as well as be with her father through the initial mourning period. And that’s the extent of my stint in Fort Myers. I once drove by/through it in the mid-2000s when I visited Florida on a short vacation. We drove from somewhere further north through the outskirts on our way to the Keys; however, I wasn’t sure of the exact address and we were really pressed for time. So I never really made it back to see the area where I was born. And now… well… if the temperature reaches 60 degrees, I turn into an awful human being that no one wants to be around. So little chances of me ever moving back there, it would seem. Maybe if I start running ice through my veins instead of blood, then I might be cooled off enough.

How about you? Anyone else from south Florida? Anyone else born and raised in very different parts of the country? Stay tuned next Sunday for the third location I’ve lived, which if you guess Long Island, you guessed correctly!

 

 

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Kristin @ ASimplyEnchantedLife. Kristin and I met about 3 months ago through WordPress and Goodreads. I don’t recall which one came first, but you must absolutely check out her website. The color scheme, fonts and pictures are always beautiful, and you leave feeling tranquil and refreshed. Kristin’s site has lots of content, but primarily focuses on book reviews and faith & family lifestyle ideas. We may not read too many books in common, but we’ve found a few and always connect on good characters and beautiful settings. I’m very intrigued by all the Amish fiction she reads, as it has such a fantastic sound to it… but what makes Kristin someone to know is how wonderful of a person she has been in the little time we’ve known one another. With 6 young girls to take care, this mom knows how to keep things running… I honestly don’t know how she finds the time to keep up with her own posts and blog, let alone comment and chat with me about my posts (which we all know are plentiful), and I’m sure lots of other people, too. Please stop by and check out the spectacular layout and design on her site… and you’ll stay for a while searching for all the great content.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.