Alfonso is a young man that has moved to Australia to find a better life. Through his story, we follow his feelings and search for purpose.
As a person that moved to another country to find a better life, I can understand Alfonso and I can relate to what he feels and thinks. Coming into another country can be extremely difficult, leaving your family and friends behind, knowing those relationships will never be the same again. Coming to terms with the fact that you will always be a foreigner and have trouble with people accepting you. Trying to make friends and get inside inner circles of people that have been together since high-school – yeah, good luck with that…
Given how I can relate to Alfonso’s situation, and the similarities I have with this character, I thought I would love this book. But I didn’t. Even though I could relate with him, I couldn’t agree with his perceptions and beliefs. Alfonso was always trying to find a girl to spend his life with. Which is normal and expected. However, instead of being his true and authentic self, he desperately tries to be as “less foreign” as possible and adapt to his audience. This is something that seemed to push the potential women away. Not to mention that he was being quite creepy at times (following a girl’s bus schedule and being there before she departs etc.)
Living in a new environment shouldn’t mean that people should stop being who they are and stop believing in what they do, or respecting and practicing the customs from the country they were born and raised from.
All my friends know that in my country we boil and colour actual eggs for Easter, rather than eat chocolate ones. In our home, me and my boyfriend celebrate two Christmases; one on the 25th December, where he does everything by his tradition, and one on 7th January, where I prepare everything in my tradition. And it works. And it’s double the fun and jolly spirit.
I couldn’t relate with the fact that Alfonso feels that he needs to change and adapt, and leave behind his culture. I also couldn’t comprehend the fact that he needs to have a woman to be happy. He couldn’t seem to find happiness with just himself. And maybe, this is again, part of the tradition. In my country, marriages and forming a family are very important, and this may have influenced Alfonso’s behaviour perhaps.
The most upsetting part about this book was that the book ended, and everything remained the same. No earnings, no character development, no closure. Just a bad vibe of negativity, that was lingering in the air and stayed with me for days, like a bad taste in my mouth that you cannot wash with brushing your teeth.