Amazon reviews for Almost a Turkish Soap Opera

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Conflicts, Lovely Book,November 26, 2012
This review is from: Almost a Turkish Soap Opera (Kindle Edition)

When we read about people like Adel and Kamil, we think they are wonderful characters in a book. Truth be told, their stories and conflicts are more real than many of us would like to admit. The Arab Spring was evidence of this, and many younger Middle Easterners spoke out in the hopes of better lives and futures but have they completely been set free from the chains they recognise as tradition?

This novel depicts Adel’s journey in a candid manner and I loved that each chapter was short and engaging. The author provided just the right balance between each character, situation and background information. You were never once left with wanting to know more. I am not sure if the book was politically motivated, but there are undercurrents of these and yet, you somehow become emotionally involved with each character. You step away from this book feeling sorry, sad and happy for more than one character. Excellent, excellent, writing.

Would I recommend this read? Oh yes, definitely.

Overall assessment:
Content: 4.5/5
Editing: 4.5/5
Formatting: 4.5/5
Pacing: 4.5/5
Offensive content?: PG13 to PG15, mostly for theme and content.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. I did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was I obliged to write a positive one.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You’ll be hooked,November 21, 2012

Having watched many Portuguese and Spanish soap operas before I was very intrigued to read this book. There is a strong sense of culture, religion and tradition that is a vital backdrop to the story. Adel is an extraordinary character who wants to fulfill his dreams and is thwarted time and time again. The reader feels his disappointment and hopes he reaches them in the end. A numerous amount of surprises particularly at the end and with a bit of wit made this a very enjoyable read. I bet if you are not a fan of soap operas you will be after reading this.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling, exciting, entertaining and gripping from start to finish!,November 7, 2012
Osman Gulum (Warrington ,UK) – See all my reviews

Almost a Turkish Soap Opera is a delightfully well written tale containing excellent plot twists and turns in true `soap opera’ fashion, creating the suspense that encapsulates you as a reader and keeps you gripped until the very end. It is written in a very simplistic narrative style that allows the story to flow easily and makes this a book that is extremely difficult to put down. The superb character development throughout the book, in conjunction with the dramatic plot, allows the reader to really become emotionally involved with the main characters (especially Adel).

What I was particularly intrigued by, as a man born in Turkey myself, was the cultural accuracy that the Anne-Rae has managed to include within the book. I feel that the book encapsulates Turkish culture, creates characters that are genuinely believable and through the different settings of the book highlights the important cultural differences between life in Turkey and in the USA/Canada, providing valuable insight for anyone interested in learning more about Middle Eastern culture, albeit if this information is provided as part of a dramatised `soap opera’ style plot.

The book follows the journey of main character Adel and his best friend Kamil from Istanbul, Turkey to Hollywood, USA in search of “the land of opportunity and beautiful ladies!”. However, reality soon hits home after arrival, that although this may be a new world, full of different opportunities, the truth is they are in a foreign land with hardly the money to pay for the cheapest of Motels and with no income to speak of! What follows are several twists and turns that lead to the pair working illegally in the country for Kamil’s cousin Mirwan, Adel falling for Nora Lee (a Canadian visitor he meets whilst working) and a subsequent whirlwind romance. This romance is cut short due to Adel’s deportation back to Turkey, instigated by his controlling and manipulating Grand Uncle. Through his Grand Uncle’s design Adel eventually heads of to Canada, where he plans for him to marry Yonka – his beloved granddaughter. Adel obliges and it is at this point where the drama of the book really unfolds.

Excellent, fast paced and with a really apt and satisfying ending, Almost a Turkish Soap Opera really is a five star read and is one that I am extremely happy to endorse and recommend to anyone!

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and easy read!,November 6, 2012

Anne-Rae Vasquez’s Almost A Turkish Soap Opera is about two friends, Kamil and Adel, who immigrate to the US from Turkey in order to make money and live their lives to the fullest. They move to LA and get an apartment together and begin working as taxi shuttle drivers for family. Adel, a ladies’ man who seems to have an easier time getting used to the US than Kamil does. Adel is more outgoing, getting him better tips and allowing him to buy his own taxi van in order to start his own business, until his jealous cousin reports him to the Immigration Service and has him deported back to Turkey. Soon after he goes back to Turkey, he leaves for Canada, where Kamil has been arranged to marry a Turkish woman. After a short stay at Kamil’s apartment, Adel soon realizes that this is not the life that he wants to live. After his own arranged marriage to Yonka, his cousin, falls apart, he realizes that he wants to start a life with Nora, his instructor at the university and a woman he fell in love with in LA. Yonka complicates things and he is soon married to another woman and Nora ends up with Kamil after his marriage is also annulled.

This is an easy read with a lot of adventures that Adel and Kamil experience together and Adel experiences alone, including his deportation from the US back to Turkey. He has to balance his love for his family and his love for a life that truly fulfills him and makes him happy. While it takes a while to get there, both men soon find all of the love and happiness that they have been seeking, both from their wives and from their families back in Turkey.

This is a very entertaining book and I laughed at least one in each chapter at the adventures that Adel and Kamil experience. While Adel thinks he has bad luck, Kamil thinks he finds himself in these situations due to his irresponsible and womanizing ways. Kamil is the tamer of the two and his is more interested in honoring his family and living a good life in the eyes of others. When Adel is arranged to marry Yonka, he knows his is in for the ride of his life, but he does not know how bumpy the ride will be until it affects his relationship with Nora. Nora was meant to be with Kamil, and the complications between Yonka and Adel help both of them realize that they were not meant to be together. This book was very much like a soap opera, but was also like a romantic comedy in many ways. I enjoyed reading the book and turning the pages to see what was going to unfold in the next chapter. I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys soap operas or romantic comedies, and those who just enjoy an easy ready that is entertaining and will keep you guessing.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost a Turkish Soap Opera,October 27, 2012

A beautiful and intriguing story of two young men Adel and Kamil, who leave Turkey for a new life.
The twists and turns of the plot from Los Angeles back to Turkey and on to Canada move with a fast pace
in the tradition of the best soap operas. The style of writing flows easily in the present, with extraordinary
characters and wonderful dialogues. I found this book very entertaining, sometimes sad and poignant sometimes extremely funny.
The writer has perfectly captured the nuances and shades of those from different cultures creating a picture rich in
textures, sights and sounds. This novel is both clever and deeply emotional with complex situations that will make you wonder
about friendship, love, betrayal and redemption. A great book.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A satisfying quick read!,October 25, 2012

Almost a Turkish Soap Opera is a timeless story filled with drama, duty, betrayal, love and friendship. Simple in narrative, yet contemporary makes it so appealing. I found myself turning page after page to see what would happen. The book recounts the immigrant experiences of Adel and his struggle to make a life for himself while pursuing the immigrant dream. The author includes many cultural details and highlights the relationships between family generations. Nicely finished, leaving the reader satisfied. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and am looking forward to the DVD movie.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost a Turkish Soap Opera,October 24, 2012

I came across Almost a Turkish Soap Opera on Goodreads. For a start, I was intrigued by the title. Before finishing the preview I went ahead and purchased it. I felt like I was drifting into the unknown. The style presents itself very much like a screenplay, so the storyline is fast-moving – which I happen to like. There’s excellent structure and characterisation here, and the reader is quickly drawn into the drama. There’s incidental humour, too, as Adel and his good friend, Kamil, leave Istanbul for Los Angeles, arising in part from naiveté as they immerse themselves in an altogether different culture. Adel takes the lead role: though confident, I never saw him as being arrogant in the slightest. Kamil is more conservative, and on occasion disapproves of Adel’s antics. Working as a shuttle van driver at the airport, Adel meets and is smitten by an English teacher called Nora – but is then deported back to Istanbul by the authorities since he has no papers. Kamil gets married by arrangement to his cousin in Vancouver, Canada – and that’s where Adel heads out to. However, in order to stay in Canada, Adel has to marry his cousin, Yonka – this being arranged by Adel’s Grand Uncle, who comes across as being a nasty piece of work. Yonka, his spoilt daughter, has various and somewhat shady strategies flying around inside her head, and because of these `strategies’ the marriage suits her as much as it does Adel, because of course he needs his papers. This `marriage of convenience’ drifts on, until Nora resurfaces. Then the drama really takes off, and the novel is impossible to put down… A page turner, without doubt! I congratulate Anne-Rae Vasquez, and I honestly do hope there’s a lot more material to come from this gifted writer.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly entertaining – a page turner,September 29, 2012
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This review is from: Almost a Turkish Soap Opera (Kindle Edition)

Almost a Turkish Soap Opera becomes more interesting as you read on. As the drama goes into full swing, it’s difficult to put the book down even for a short break. The characters of this book are colorful; perhaps many of them resemble the characters in some Turkish soap operas, though I haven’t watched one.

Action begins when the 25-year-old Adel — handsome, business savvy, and sometimes quixotic — leaves his home in Istanbul and arrives at Los Angeles with his best friend Kamil. He meets Nora, who visits LA from Vancouver, Canada, and then falls for her, but the meeting is cut short because Adel is manipulated by his grand uncle, a domineering, contemptible figure to Adel’s family. Mirwan, a pawn of Adel’s grand uncle, reports Adel to the U.S. immigration services. Adel is detained and subsequently deported back to Turkey. After a short stay in Istanbul, Adel heads for Vancouver where Kamil lives with his new wife Ayca. There, at the cultural crossroads of the West and the Middle East, Adel, his cousin Yonka, Kamil, Nora, Ayca, and other characters intersect.

Adel’s presence (and perhaps Kamil’s as well) in Vancouver was arranged by Adel’s grand uncle, whose aim is to marry Adel to his beloved granddaughter Yonka, a cunning and egocentric woman who lives a life of decadence. Adel plunges into the whirlwind of Yonka’s schemes (into the untenable and unconsummated marriage) and of falling in love with Nora again. Eastern and Muslim culture collides with Western ways and ideas and brings the characters together at times and pulls them apart at others.

To many Western readers, the culture of the Middle East, which still exercises arranged marriages along with dowries and marriages among cousins, could be strange. But we also find Jane Austin’s world strange, which is not that long ago, as well as some of today’s American societies in which polygamy and other taboos are tolerated; this book teaches us that we should understand the cultural differences in the world to live together more harmoniously.

The book is scene-oriented with relatively short chapters, and thus a page-turner — I thoroughly enjoyed it. Adel’s father is weak in front of his domineering uncle, but toward the end, he stands up against him and he and his poor family finally get what they deserve. The novel has an unexpected and highly satisfying ending, with dramatic irony in a literary sense. After reading the book I also watched snippets of the eponymous movie on the Internet, written and directed by Anne-Rae Vasquez; the book and the movie went together very well and the movie augmented my sense of the characters. And I am looking forward to reading and seeing more of the work by this talented writer-artist in the near future.

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