June's Room

The Ruins of Us

The Ruins of Us - Keija Parssinen I read this from the perspective of a british revert to Islam, married to an Arab husband,albeit not from Saudi Arabia. I was,therefore totally identifying with Rosalie,the American wife of Abdullah, who has chosen to take a second wife and who has,for two years whole years, been keeping it a secret.It only comes to light when a jeweller asks her about an anniversary gift her husband has purchased, a gift she knows nothing about.
The 'ruin' for me is not so much in the fact of his polygyny..as a Muslim I accept that it is lawful, regardless of whatever my personal feelings are about it...but in his deception. I do not know if I could recover from all the lies. Abdullah is also unfeeling enough to install his new wife within a very small distance from the home he shares with Rosalie.
The shockwaves from this discovery affect not only the couple but their children Faisal and Mariam.Faisal ,at 16, is struggling to come to terms with his bi cultural self..feeling like a misfit among his peers because of his American-ness. He retreats from family into a group who follow a controversial sheik, perhaps in his search for a feeling of belonging. His actions ultimately lead to his mother being put in a position of grave danger,saved only by his father who perhaps finally realises that although Rosalie is no longer 'the girl he married', she still has a huge place in his heart..