Finding Joy by Adriana Herrera
Reviewed by GGGinny
What I drank: hard seltzer. There’s a brand called Press that does a Pomegranate Ginger that has become one of my fav drinks.
As his twenty-sixth birthday approaches, Desta Joy Walker finds himself in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the one place he’s been actively avoiding most of his life. For Desta, the East African capital encompasses some of the happiest and saddest parts of his life–his first home and the place where his father died. When an unavoidable work obligation lands him there for twelve weeks, he may finally have a chance for the closure he so desperately needs. What Desta never expected was to catch a glimpse of his future as he reconnects with the beautiful country and his family’s past.
Elias Fikru has never met an opportunity he hasn’t seized. Except, of course, for the life-changing one he’s stubbornly ignored for the past nine months. He’d be a fool not to accept the chance to pursue his doctoral studies in the U.S., but saying yes means leaving his homeland, and Elias isn’t ready to make that commitment.
Meeting Desta, the Dominican-American emergency relief worker with the easy smile and sad eyes, makes Elias want things he’s never envisioned for himself. Rediscovering his country through Desta’s eyes emboldens Elias to reach for a future where he can be open about every part of himself. But when something threatens the future that’s within their grasp, Elias and Desta must put it all on the line for love.
Drunk Overview: Desta decides to follow in his fathers footsteps working in international aid. He goes to Ethiopia, where he was born, at a time where hes thinking about leaving AidUSA to go to grad school for social work. Desta is also gay, and Ethiopia is not exactly LGBT friendly. While there he falls in love with Elias, a native coworker. They have to deal with the homophobic atmosphere and the uncertainty of their futures.
Drunk Thoughts: okay. That summary was pretty dry. What I didnt talk about was the way these two connected. Their conversations were kind of beautiful: covering topics like their audiobooks to talkimg about what its like being closeted in a country where that can get you killed.
- First THIS BOOK IS NOT YA. I made an assumption so my head definitely snapped back at onr point.
- Desta has these anxieties that I really connected with: disappointing family and worrying about the future both the vague future and the immediate future
- Its part of the reason he makes bad choices and sometimes the reason he makes smart choices.
- But he’s someone who doesnt always trust in who he is.
- Meanwhile Elias knows exactly who he is. If he has anxieties he tends to olay them close to his chest. And he feels like an indefinable ray of sunshine.
- And the world felt real. While so much was focused on the characters, the moments outside felt alive.
- Which is helped by the way things clearly move outside of Desta’s view.
- There’s the irritating, pretentious coworker who constantly fucks things up for everyone, the boss who knows about the irritating coworker but can’t do anything about it, and the other field workers who bring so much life
- There are books that have this vibrancy that make you want to inhabit a world. And in this case I could actually visit Ethiopia. You know. When Covid isnt happening.
What I’d Pair it With: something vibrant and punchy. A zinfandel.