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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Don’t Tell Mama is a work of fiction in the LGBTQ+, cross-cultural and interpersonal drama sub-genres, and was penned by author Nikolay Yordanov. Written for adults due to the book’s explicit content in language, sexual situations and some scenes of violence, this thought-provoking read explores the lives of seven different individuals from the perspective of one omnipotent being who observes them all. Their fragmented stories come together to form a central narrative about love, life and some dark secrets of being. Featuring characters from Bulgaria, Iraq, Iran, Spain, North Korea, the USA and Uganda, this highly engaging drama looks at the difficulties of life and a common secret that these unknown neighbors share.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish, not least for its finesse in presenting fully rounded characters who feel real from the moment you meet them. The novel may be long, but author Nikolay Yordanov structures the interweaving narratives in such a way that it produces a fast-paced read through different slices of life, shifting and presenting new and interesting focal points at every turn of the page. I particularly enjoyed the emotional journey of Nae-il in North Korea, which presented a truly eye-opening exploration of grief, but also life under dictatorship. There is certainly something for everyone in this ultra diverse cast with a powerful emotive quality to the struggles of each member of the ensemble. Overall, I would highly recommend Don’t Tell Mama to readers who favor diverse and accomplished interpersonal drama.